Engineering department talks about plan to get more female students involved

In the past, Engineering was thought of as mainly a man’s field. Even today, there are few women who major in engineering in college.

In fact, this year’s freshman class has only 24 girls out 125 Engineering students, putting the college’s total of females at around 19 percent.

Although the number may seem extremely low to most, some of the seniors in the Engineering Department say the number has gone up since they started college.

Despite being the minority, the female freshman engineering majors plan to stick to their goals and offered words of encouragement to other women in the field.

“Don’t feel intimidated at all, just because you’re surrounded by a bunch of males doesn’t mean that your opinion doesn’t matter,” said freshman Civil Engineering student, Ashtyn Wedge. “Just because your opinion differs from theirs doesn’t make it wrong.”

“Don’t feel intimidated at all, just because you’re surrounded by a bunch of males doesn’t mean that your opinion doesn’t matter.””

— Ashtyn Wedge

Wedge is not the only female engineering major who feels added pressure from being outnumbered. Freshman, Megan Bates, sympathizes with other females in the college.

“You have to study all the time, and being an engineer, our group of people that we study with is mainly boys,” Bates said. “It’s a little bit intimidating at first because you want to go with the group opinion to seem like you know everything that’s going on.”

Bates explained that although it was difficult for her to speak up in the beginning, it gets easier as time passes. Bates said that after awhile, she got used to it and was able to ask more questions and feel more comfortable in lectures.

The engineering department has camp programs set up for next summer for interested high school and middle school students. Staff members hope that the camps can attract more girls to the program.

“Females tend to shy away from engineering, but we are doing what we can to get more females involved,” said Dr. Salem, Chairman and Professor of Engineering.

The number of female engineering students continues to slowly grow and in addition to the summer camps, the engineering department also goes to schools and talks to girls and boys about choosing engineering as their majors. The program hopes that more students will think of choosing engineering as part of their career path.

Contact Kalyn Bordman at [email protected].