George Washington University Establishes the Center for Women in Engineering

The School of Engineering and Applied Science at George Washington University has launched the Center for Women in Engineering. The new center aims to increase the number of women students and faculty in engineering and support women in the discipline by hosting events and providing professional development opportunities. Rachelle Heller, a professor of computer science, will serve as the center’s inaugural director.

“We’re very pleased to launch the Center for Women in Engineering,” said Rumana Riffat interim dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “It will provide a focal point for our aspiration to support a range of enrichment and leadership opportunities for the female students, staff, faculty and alumni.”

Currently, about 31 percent of students and about 20 percent of faculty in the school are women. The new center will aim to increase the number of women in departments with less than 25 percent representation. This will be done by providing guidance to faculty search committees and ensuring that job candidates from diverse backgrounds are given a fair chance in the hiring process.

Additionally, the center will support and promote the events of student organizations, such as the GW Society of Women Engineers, by advertising their events on the center’s website and providing the organizations with resources and information.

“By partnering with our various stakeholders and bringing them all together under one umbrella,” said Professor Heller, “the center will foster closer communication and collaboration and build more effective programs and initiatives to serve this goal.”

Professor Heller is a graduate of Stony Brook University of the State University of New York System. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Dr. Heller is the co-editor of Computers & Education: An International Journal.

Filed Under: DiversityGender GapSTEM Fields


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