Encourage More Women in Engineering
A partnership between the Princeton University
School of Engineering and Applied Science and Smith -- the nation’s
first women’s college to offer an engineering degree -- will
expose students from both schools to vastly different learning
environments and better prepare women to enter and succeed in the field
of engineering. Smith junior-year students in the Picker Engineering
Program and Princeton students, both male and female, who rank in the
top 20 percent of their classes are eligible for the spring-semester
exchange, which will start in 2006.
“The interaction between the
two schools will enable both to enhance their students’ educational
experiences and encourage more women to see engineering and
applied science as a viable route for making significant contributions
to society,” says
Joseph O’Rourke, interim director of the Picker program.
visiting Smith students will increase the presence of women
seeking an engineering career, a goal to which the university
is committed. Women there make up about 30 percent of the graduates and
undergraduates studying engineering. Visiting Smith women get the opportunity
to study at a major research institution and to work closely with the
faculty members and graduate students there.
At Smith, Princeton students
will experience an innovative and interdisciplinary engineering
curriculum, which is embedded in the liberal arts and emphasizes
the study of social responsibility and sustainability. Special living
arrangements will be made for Princeton men participating in the exchange;
such accommodations are already available for male students who study
at Smith through existing exchange programs.
Women are surprisingly underrepresented
in the field of engineering: five out of six engineering
students, and nine out of ten engineering professors are
male. Yet the 135 Smith students in the Picker program study with a faculty
that is more than 50 percent female. Smith is dedicated to recruiting
more women and supporting their scholarship as they prepare for careers
in the field.
Smith’s first class of 20 engineers graduated in 2004
and most earned admission to some of the nation’s top graduate
programs; several received graduate fellowships from the National Science
Foundation. The class of 2005 graduates in May.