STEP has created a one credit hour course for incoming female first-year and transfer students entitled Women and Leadership in Engineering and Applied Sciences. This topics course, which is modeled after successful women in science and engineering programs in the U.S., introduces speakers, mainly female alums of Western Michigan University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), who present to the class about their current job and experiences at WMU. They offer advice and guidance using personal examples for the students. Other presenters include a student panel comprised of current female CEAS students to talk about classes, internships, tutoring and registered student organization opportunities.
Students are assigned an e-mentor who is also a female Western Michigan University CEAS graduate. Students correspond with their e-mentor via email. Assignments are based on helping students be good mentees by encouraging communication with their assigned mentors as well as other short reading and writing assignments based on current literature on female students in STEM.
The class is a recent pilot and has only been offered in fall 2014 and fall 2015. However, the fall 2014 class has a 95 percent retention to CEAS and 100 percent retention to WMU a year later. Dr. Edmund Tsang, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and the STEP Principal Investigator, along with Anetra Grice, the STEP Program Director, facilitate the course.
Students who have 14 credits or below are not charged tuition for the course due to the WMU flat rate tuition. The STEP Program will cover the tuition cost for the one credit hour course for students who have 15 or above credits. Students with 15 plus credits who drop the course before the end of the semester will be charged the extra tuition.
For more information about the Women in Leadership in CEAS course contact:
women in engineering mentoring network
The Women in Engineering Mentoring Network (WEMN) is led by Dr. Ikhlas Abdel-Qader, a STEP Co-Principal investigator, STEP Faculty Mentor, and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The program connects female engineering students with a female mentor for face-to-face contact. This helps female students learn the skills and information needed to be successful in college and in careers in engineering and applied sciences.
Mentors also help students get answers to their academic and career questions from female professionals who have similar experiences. Students and mentors also participate in a banquet to celebrate friendship and partnership forged over the academic year.
Mentors commit for one academic year and interact with their student mentee by any mode of communication. Mentors and mentees communicate as frequently as needed, with at least two face-to-face meetings during the mentorship period. Mentors attend a kick-off event and are introduced to their mentees.
Mentees commit for one-year and participate in communication with their mentor. They should communicate as frequently as needed with at least two face-to-face meetings during the mentorship period. Mentees meet their mentors during the kick-off event.
Examples of successful mentor and mentee interactions include:
- Spend a day shadowing a mentor or simply touring her place of work.
- Meet a mentor for lunch or attend a professional meeting together.
- Attend, with a mentor, on-campus activities such as the Engineers' Week events, BTR Park annual bike race and WMU's Society of Women Engineers student chapter activities.
For more information contact the WEMN Program Director:
Ikhlas Abdel-Qader, PhD, PE
Professor and Director
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Phone: (269) 276-3146
Participation in the WEMN Program is open to all female sophomore, junior, and senior students of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Society of Women Engineers
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) provides a great opportunity to build ties with numerous people in the both the same major and all different engineering and applied sciences majors. As a society, SWE focuses on many skills including: teamwork, networking, resume building, and the skills needed to interact with different age groups. They host many different activities annually and hope to develop many more. Also, one of the most intriguing benefits of SWE is the wide range of scholarships available to student SWE members from the national chapter.
How to join the society
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is not only available to join locally, but you can join nationally as well. If you are interested in joining the national chapter of SWE, the cost is $20 per year to join. If you are interested in attending the national and regional conferences, there is a large discount for those who are national SWE members.
If you are interested in a free membership with SWE locally, just come to a meeting. If you are unable to attend the next meeting and would still like to join, feel free to email email@example.com with your interest in joining. This will ensure that you will receive the meeting minutes and other SWE information. Meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Floyd Hall room C-136.
National and Regional Conference
The national and regional conferences are one of the most helpful events to attend. At the conferences students can attend sessions covering a broad range of topics from ‘How to Build a Professional Resume” to “Are You Heading in the Right Direction?” The conferences have career fairs where you can meet representatives and hand out your resumes. Also, interviews are held at the conferences for jobs, co-ops, and internships.