Analysis Ranks Colleges Based On Percentage Of Female Computer Science, Engineering Graduates
In an analysis of ED data, the Chronicle of Higher Education (2/24) ranked four-year public and private universities based on percentage of female bachelor’s-degree recipients in computer science and engineering, “two well-paying fields in which women have long been underrepresented.” The analysis found that only four colleges that had “at least 50 bachelor’s-degree recipients in computer science in 2016-17 awarded more than half of such degrees to women, and one of those was a women’s college.” Meanwhile, “Only three colleges with at least 50 bachelor’s-degree recipients in engineering in 2016-17 awarded more than half of such degrees to women.” Overall, the analysis found, the “percentage of female bachelor’s-degree recipients was greater” in engineering than computer science.
Scientist Who Designed Algorithm Allowing Black Hole Picture Becomes Women In STEM Icon
The New York Times (4/11, Mervosh) reported, “As the first-ever picture of a black hole was unveiled this week, another image began making its way around the internet: a photo of a young scientist, clasping her hands over her face and reacting with glee to an image of an orange ring of light, circling a deep, dark abyss.” Postdoctoral researcher Katie Bouman, who led development of the algorithm that made the picture possible, “became an instant hero for women and girls in STEM, a welcome symbol in a world hungry for representation.” However, “many nonscientists on social media overstated her role in what was a group effort by hundreds of people, creating an exaggerated impression as the photo was shared and reshared.”
The Washington Post (4/11, Bever) reported on the “giddy realization that the remarkable, years-in-the-making moment would not have been possible without the work of a 29-year-old female scientist, who has now claimed a special spot in history.” Bouman “created an algorithm that assembled the one-of-a-kind picture. And after the image was unveiled to the world on Wednesday, Bouman began earning accolades from fellow scientists, historians and politicians for her significant achievement.” Boston (4/11) and MarketWatch (4/11, Lapin) also report.
University Of Georgia Scientist Explains Why Women, Girls Are Underrepresented In STEM
In an opinion piece for Forbes (6/9, Shepherd), Marshall Shepherd – Director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program – wrote that STEM careers are “often not the chosen pathway for minorities and girls.” Shepherd says that he is “deeply concerned because: (1) it is a societal problem based on decades of inertia, (2) exclusion of any major segment of society limits ideas or innovation, and (3) I have a 15-year old daughter interested in science.” Shepherd’s essay outlined several factors that lead to fewer women and girls in STEM fields, including problems of imagery, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the lack of mentors.
Study: Black, Asian Undergrad Students Negatively Affected By Stereotypes In STEM Classes
Diverse Issues in Higher Education (1/16, Wood) reported that a recent study “funded by the National Science Foundation, found that Black and Asian undergraduate college students are negatively affected by stereotypes and labels within their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academic environments.” Dr. Ebony McGee, author of the report, “conducted interviews documenting the academic experiences of 61 Black and Asian STEM students from six universities and colleges across the United States.”
Research: Students Of Color Less Likely To Remain In College STEM Programs
The Washington Post (5/3, Smith) reported on the difficulty college administrators face in recruiting students of color to STEM programs, and says that retaining them once they’re there is also problematic. “Black and Latino college students transfer or drop out of STEM programs...at higher rates than their white peers, according to a recent study published in the journal Education Researcher. Authors of the study used federal data from the National Center for Education Statistics to look at more than 5,600 black, Latino and white students who enrolled in college for the first time in the 2003-2004 academic year,” finding that “students entered the programs at relatively equal numbers: About 19 percent of the white students declared as STEM majors, compared with 20 percent of Latino students and 18 percent of black students. Yet black and Latino students changed majors at higher rates than their white peers.”
University Of Arizona Website Features University Woman Rendered As Superheros
The Arizona Daily Star (3/7, Willett) reported that for the last month, the University of Arizona’s website “has showcased six university women – both professors and students – as superheroes, drawing inspiration for their super powers from their individual areas of expertise. Mechanical engineering student and track-and-field star Hannah Whetzel is a super speedster. Stacy Tollefson, a professor of practice of biosystems engineering with a passion for hydroponics, is lobbing tomatoes. And astronomy and physics undergraduate Emily Walla is star-bound, telescope trained to the skies.” The university “launched the page at the beginning of February to celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11.”
University Of Michigan Dean Discusses High Percentage Of Women In Engineering School’s Leadership Positions
In a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education (5/1), University of Michigan Dean of Engineering Alec D. Gallimore wrote that his school has “filled half of the top leadership positions at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering with women. ... At the 10 U.S. engineering schools with the largest research budgets, women make up about 17 percent of the faculty.” Gallimore laments that there is scrutiny “when women constitute a higher-than-usual proportion of an engineering college’s leadership, but somehow we don’t make the same assumptions about talent when all of a school’s top positions are filled by men.” He writes that at the University of Michigan, “the numerical skew toward hiring women comes from expecting more – not less – of our top administrators. Being an accomplished engineer is still a requirement, but it is no longer sufficient. Our leaders also need to be able to see and articulate biases in the organization and propose ways to counter them. It turned out that the women who were hired as leaders in our latest round performed better on those measures.”
ED Investigating STEM Gender Gap Programs
The Chronicle of Higher Education (8/22) reported that while universities across the US have launched programs in recent years aimed at narrowing the gender gap in STEM fields, more recently, “a handful of activists have complained that those programs, and gender-specific programs more broadly, discriminate against men. And they’ve grabbed the attention of the U.S. Department of Education.” ED, the article reported, “has started more than 24 investigations of colleges” over “complaints that their single-sex programs and scholarships discriminate against men.” The piece cites National Center for Education Statistics data showing that “women earn less than a third of all degrees in STEM...and remain underrepresented in many of the fields after graduation.”
WBUR-FM Boston (8/22) ran a segment on ED’s investigations, featuring an interview with Western New England University Title IX expert Erin Buzuvis “about what Title IX says about these programs, many of which are focused on STEM fields.”
Mississippi State University Engineering Professors Receive $200K NSF Grant For Research On Women In STEM
The Mississippi Business Journal (8/8, Gillette) reported, “Two prominent women engineers in the state, Mississippi State University (MSU) aerospace engineering professor Rani W. Sullivan and electrical and computer engineering assistant professor M. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh, want to encourage more women to enter science-based computing fields.” Sullivan and Mohammadi-Aragh “have received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a project designed to identify new ways to recruit and retain women in engineering based on stories from both international and American students with regards to their career choice.”
All-Female ASU Team Places 3rd In International Robotics Competition
KSAZ-TV Phoenix (8/9, Miller) reported an all-female team from Arizona State University placed third in a robotic submarine competition held in San Diego against teams from 12 different countries, and ranked first among US teams. ASU lecturer Daniel Frank called the achievement a “huge deal,” noting that other young women had been in contact from around the country and the world inquiring about the team.