Celebrating the people who are currently working towards

From: akapur@edc.org
Date: Thu Dec 02 1999 - 14:33:52 EST

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Hello all on the EDC list,

The message includes the following topics, separated by asterisks:
1.Thanks to those who have answered my questions
2.The good news is: there are lots of people working hard to promote gender
3.Three methods of increasing the number of women in sci math and eng:
outreach, recruitment and retention
4.Funding: How to keep things going
5.Posters: a neat idea and people who are doing it already

1.Thanks to the people who have written responses to the questions I posted
to the list. I hope that we not only bring up problems and issues, but also
"dream up" or point to solutions and current programs that are making
positive change.

I am a researcher currently involved in a large scale investigation of why
women choose to stay in or leave engineering at the undergraduate level. I
work with a few other people, and we have gone through lots of research,
are doing surveys, interviews, etc. to find out more about this issue.

I have chosen to organize this message with topics etc. It takes more time,
but I think it's easier to read.

2. The good news is: there are lots of people out there doing wonderful and
innovative programs on all levels. One great resource for people interested
in learning more is WEPAN. Their web site is http://www.wepan.org/.

The people I have talked to who run women's support program talk about
three levels: recruitment of female engineers, retention of female
engineering students, and lastly outreach to interest middle school and
high school kids in science math and engineering (SME) majors.

I agree with Gay Gordon, who wrote that the important years to target are
the middle school years. Some interesting approaches to outreach that I
have come across include:
**Girl scout badge days that are run by women engineering students through
the Society of Women Engineers (SWE http://www.swe.org)
**On campus summer camps for girls that bring girls into research labs
**Lego activities, straw bridge activities, egg drop contests--innovative
ways of making engineering applicable to students

**Having engineering students come to college fairs, or go to school and
talk about engineering or science
**Orientation programs for incoming frosh
**Phone a thoms where prospective students are called by current students
to talk about what it's like to study

**living learning centers--dorms that house all engineers, or all sci/
**email mentoring that pairs students with people in industry
**mentoring of frosh by upperclass students
**special courses to "demystify" engines for women who may not have much
experience with them
**engineering societies, such as SWE

4. Funding: Keeping things going
I also agree with Bill Lamb who wrote that programs are funded only when
they are innovative and then allowed to "die". This is a problem both with
government sources and industry sources. Often these programs are started
without any budget allocated for evaluation of the impact and effectiveness
of the program. Evaluations that show definate positive change may help in
long term funding. Another solution may also be to turn to the institution
(such as a college) after the project has started, and convince them that
it is worthwhile to continue to fund this project.

5.Posters: A neat idea, and some people who are doing it already
One last note: Judith Abrahami-Einat wrote that there should be posters of
successful women sciencetists and engineers to spread the word about these
people, and use them as role models. There is a project currently being
done by the Jewish Women's Archives here in Boston which features Jewish
women. not all are sienctists, but they do a good job with the posters.
Their web page is http://www.jwa.org.

Hope everyone is well, and thanks for all of your great ideas and input.

Meredith Thompson

WECE staff
Goodman Research Group, Inc.
26 Lee Street Suite 1
Cambridge MA 02139

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