Engineering Technology Professional Program Wins National Grant

EMPOWER program focuses on retaining women in science and engineering

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The College of Applied Science and Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology won a Campus Action Project grant from the American Association of University Women. The award will be used to present a series of workshops in the EMPOWER project, a program designed to build self-confidence in professional skills needed to succeed in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“The workshops will address barriers women students face in persisting in the engineering disciplines,” says Betsy Dell, program director for the Engineering Technology Mentoring and Professional Skills Workshops for Enhanced Retention, also known as EMPOWER. “These challenges include a limited peer group, limited female role models and lack of self-confidence in their ability to succeed in the STEM fields.”

The EMPOWER program consists of a series of professional education workshops for students studying engineering technology and packaging science. Workshops being supported under the new grant will include topics such as effective networking, developing a professional portfolio and dressing for success. Participants will also tour local engineering facilities to promote a fuller understanding of the profession and give students an opportunity to network with professionals in the field, Dell adds.

The program series begins Nov. 30. A student team has been assembled to plan and implement the programming. All the students are undergraduates in engineering technology, packaging science and environmental management programs.

Campus Action Project grants support university programs that raise awareness and increase understanding of STEM fields, encouraging mentoring and relationships between undergraduates and industry professionals and improve the campus culture in STEM departments. At the completion of the workshop series a student representative will give a presentation about the program at the American Association of University Women student leaders conference in June in Washington, D.C.