On September 13, some 44 women students and several faculty members from the College of Engineering and the Computer Science Department gathered for a Meet and Greet session, hosted by the Women in Engineering Program. “The fact that you’ve been accepted into the College of Engineering as a woman means you automatically belong to the Women in Engineering Program,” says Shelly Perdomo, the director of the Diversity Programs Office (DPO). “You’re in the club. That means you get information on a number of academic workshops, professional development workshops, industry tours, the tutoring program, and many other things.”
The welcome event was moderated informally by Perdomo and Kathy Rubin, the assistant dean. “It was the best turnout ever, and it was great,” says Perdomo about this event, which was attended largely by first-year students, but also with a healthy population of upper class students. “One purpose was for the new students to know who we are, what services we can provide, and where else to go for help.”
She said there were a number of wonderful discussions.
“So many of these women are coming in quite excited, but also with some anxiety,” says Perdomo. “They have questions about academic load, about balancing academics and their social life, about almost everything. This was one of the largest turnouts for any program since I arrived here in 2006. Many of the questions focused on preparing for graduate school. They asked about pursuing REU positions. They asked about internships. Or they asked questions about the requirements they would need for particular fields they wanted to go into.”
The College of Engineering is exceptional in terms of the kind of support we’re able to supply our students. This past year, the DPO staged its annual Career Day for more than 300 female high school students and their counselors from 50 towns and cities throughout Massachusetts and the Northeast. The office also hosted 25 Girl Scouts during its annual Girl Scouts Engineering Exploration Day. In addition, the DPO continued to run a dizzying schedule of First Friday Socials, Dinner Etiquette Programs, Alumni Lunch events, professional development workshops, Phone-a-thons, and its widespread Tutoring Program. (September 2010)