Only Five Women Among the 69 New Members of the National Academy of Engineering

nae-feature-thumbIt is no secret that women are vastly underrepresented in engineering disciplines. In 2011, women earned only 22.2 percent of all doctoral degrees in engineering fields. Despite the small percentage, there has been substantial progress. Twenty years earlier in 1991, only 9 percent of all engineering doctorates went to women.

Given that there were so few women gaining doctorates in engineering fields two decades ago, it is not surprising that today very few women are inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, a society that honors people with memberships based usually on a lifetime of achievement in the field. Recently, the National Academy of Engineering announced its 2013 class of new fellows. According to WIAReport‘s analysis, only five of the 69 new members are women. Thus, women are just 7.2 percent of the new members. Perhaps a generation from now, the percentage of women new inductees into the academy will reflect the current percentage of women earning doctorates in engineering.

Among the five women inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, two do not have current academic affiliations. Ursula M. Burns, CEO of Xerox and Helen Greiner, CEO and founder of CyPhy Works, a robotics company in Danvers, Massachusetts, were honored as new inductees. Three other women inductees currently hold university positions:

BlackmondDonna G. Blackmond is a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She was honored for her work in kinetic and mechanistic studies of catalytic reactions for pharmaceuticals. Professor Blackmond holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

bonnell_1Dawn A. Bonnell is the Trustees Chair Professor of Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the director of the university’s Nano-Bio Interface Center. She was honored for her work in developing atomic-resolution surface probes. Professor Bonnell holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the University of Michigan.

sharon-woodSharon L. Wood is the Robert L. Parker Sr. Centennial Professor and chair of the department of civil, architectural, and environmental engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Wood is being honored for her work in the design of reinforced concrete structures. Professor Wood is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from University of Illinois.

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