I attended an engineering university, Tennessee Technological University, ranked by US News & World Report Education as one of the Best Engineering Schools in the USA. The Engineering students were definitely held in high esteem on campus, with the Engineering College being one of the largest on campus. Many of my friends were engineering majors, if only for a semester. Walking around with impressive calculators and heavy backpacks, engineering students were everywhere. But I don't recall any female faculty members in the college; and my female friends were definitely the minority. As they progressed to upperclassman ranks, their numbers dwindled.
National Women in Engineering Day was kicked off in 2014 and is celebrated in the United Kingdom. I think we need to celebrate the day here in the States, as well. As the headline at TCTMagazine says “We need more female role models". No where is this more evident than in my search of our database for images for this post. (See the image of the circuit board...that was the best I could find using the preferred image service we have for SciAm blogs when I searched for women + engineers. There were all of these photos of people standing in front of windmills or construction sites. No other representations of 'engineering' and no women of color.)
Although I know women of color who are engineers, friends from college, I don't know as many in my social media circles as I wish. And you know what, we need more female role models on this front, too. Among my #BLACKandSTEM/#VanguardSTEM peeps, Dr. Monica Cox is the only one who comes to mind. Thankfully for us all, she is a powerful influencer in Engineering Education. She was recently named chair of new Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University.
She shares her story on episode 10 of Trail Blazers radio. Listen here.
Let's spread the word about National Women in Engineering Day and share about the great work other women in engineering are doing. Perhaps we can inspire young girls and women to follow their footsteps.