Improving Female Retention Rates Of Engineering Students

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Proposal Memo Date: 10 October 2015 To: Dr. Yakut Gazi, Cameron Morrison CC: Dr. Christine Murray, Hyera Kim From: Nicole Francis Subject: Improving Female Retention Rates of Engineering Students

Summary A significant number of female engineering students change their major before graduation. Of those women who graduate in engineering, even less accept a job in the engineering field. Most women say their reason for leaving engineering was the classroom or workplace environment towards females. Women should not be pushed out of classrooms and jobs due to bias against their gender.

I propose to train students in workplace etiquette so as to educate the next generation of engineers of the harm in gender discrimination and the
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Texas A&M is considered to have high female numbers compared to most universities. However, less than half of those females who enter an engineering major will graduate with a degree in engineering (“Retention”). According to a study completed by Project on Women’s Engineering Retention, or POWER, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, twenty percent of engineering graduates are female, yet only eleven percent of practicing engineers are female. There are a plethora of reasons women claim for leaving the engineering field. However, redefining the engineering field and educating those in the field can solve most of the problems women cite in the engineering field. The POWER study researched the reasons women claimed caused them to leave the engineering field and any potential improvements to help retain strong gender ratios in the workplace.
As mentioned before, nationally forty percent of female engineering graduates become practicing engineers (Fouad). Texas A&M University does not publicize any data collection of students’ job placement after graduation. However, one can assume, following the statistical data trend of Texas A&M’s comparison to national levels, the female engineering job placement rates are slightly higher than the national average.
A third of graduating females refuse to enter the engineering field due to their prior conception of
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