Betsy Dell, associate professor of manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology at Rochester Institute of Technology, was one of the recipients of the 2013 Up & Coming Businesswomen Award, a designation given by the area nonprofit professional group Rochester Women’s Network.
Dell was recognized at the organization’s Network Summit Business Conference on Sept. 24 at the Rochester Plaza Hotel. She was presented the award for her work at RIT and within the local K-12 community in supporting gender diversity and recruiting and retaining young women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the STEM disciplines.
“The college deeply appreciates all of our faculty’s work and dedication, but most especially that of faculty who continue to willingly give so generously of themselves and their time on behalf of the success of our college, faculty and students,” says Fred Walker, dean of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “We are very proud of Betsy and warmly congratulate her on receiving this special honor.”
A member of the RIT faculty since 2006, Dell mentors first- and second-year students in the College of Applied Science and Technology. She has organized numerous educational and mentoring activities for female students, including Equal Pay Awareness events at the college, and a series professional development workshops called EMPOWER—Engineering Technology Mentoring and Professional Skills Workshops for Enhanced Retention—to address barriers female students face in persisting in the technical or STEM disciplines. She also works with student members of the college’s Women in Technology program who host outreach programs for middle- and high-school-age girls.
“Women are underrepresented in engineering and technology careers. Through our outreach programs at RIT, we are trying to spread the word to young women about the opportunities that exist in engineering careers,” says Dell. In 2012, she received the Edwina Award for Gender Diversity and Inclusiveness, given by RIT’s Center for Women and Gender, for her academic support for undergraduates, her scholarship and advocacy and the K-12 outreach she leads in the local community.
“Often, we find young women haven’t even considered an engineering career,” she adds. “Our programs are designed to get young women excited about these opportunities.”
Outside of RIT, the Fairport resident was named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Fairport School District for her work assisting with the development of single-gender technology classes. She is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education, the Society of Plastics Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers.