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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Where are the Women? Strategies for Increasing Female Student Participation in EECS

Lynne E. Parker, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceCollege of Engineering

​In Fall 2013, only 6% of declared undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at UTK were women. This is not unique to EECS, as the numbers of women in most areas of engineering and computer science nationwide are dismally low. Why is this? Social and environmental barriers discourage many women from pursuing a career in EECS and related technical fields. Many women walk away from the field early on, due to feelings of isolation and a lack of community. To address this challenge, our department began a new student group a year ago called "Systers: Women in EECS @ UTK.” The mission of Systers is to recruit, mentor, and retain women in EECS. This talk will explore the challenges of increasing the number of female students in engineering, along with strategies we are exploring to encourage more women to study areas of EECS.

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