As a graduate of UCLA’s Electrical Engineering masters and doctorate programs, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and Chancellor at UC Davis, I have seen firsthand the lack of female role models in the STEM fields.
Data from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau highlights some alarming trends among women and minorities in the engineering field. Namely, the number of women in engineering has declined from 21% in 2000 to 18% in 2010, while only nine percent of African-American and Hispanic populations are pursing degrees in science and engineering.
Despite these declining numbers, I am proud to share that UC Davis is among the national leaders in having a diverse STEM student body and a diverse STEM faculty.
As a result of our concerted effort to bring more diversity to the engineering field, UC Davis is currently ranked first by College Database with 2,500 women in the university’s STEM areas of study. Additionally, our College of Engineering faculty is 19.2% female and provides more female role models for our STEM students than any other university in the country
In 2012-2013, UC Davis also led the nation in the number of Hispanics receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering with 16%. However, there is still much room for growth among our African-American students who only account for 1.5% of students in our undergraduate engineering programs.
To further highlight our commitment to diversity in our STEM programs, UC Davis offers the Girls’ Leadership Camp on Computing and Robotics to cultivate an interest in science among young girls. We are also in the midst of completing a three-year National Science Foundation grant program, ADVANCE, that provides our university with an opportunity to hire more Latina science and technology faculty.
With more role models for young girls and minorities to look up to in the STEM fields at all levels of their education, the better chance we have to increase diversity in these important disciplines. And, in this area, UC Davis is proud to lead by example.
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