Women in Engineering
In the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, we believe that a career in engineering is attainable regardless of gender. Roughly 30% of the undergraduate students in the college are female, much higher than the national average of about 20%, as reported by the National Science Foundation. In some of our departments, such as Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, almost half of the students enrolled are women. (Learn more about Carnegie Mellon University by visiting our factbook.)
Many of our alumnae are leaders in their fields, succeeding in careers in corporations, academia, or their own companies. At Carnegie Mellon, they learned how to solve global problems by working with people from different cultures and had the opportunity to engage in exciting research or try their hand at being an entrepreneur. You can read stories about what the women from the College of Engineering have recently achieved in the "Female Newsmakers" column.
A number of organizations at Carnegie Mellon focus on providing support to our female students, including the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which offers scholarship, career, service, and social opportunities to its members. With over 200 CMU women choosing to become national members, our chapter is exceptionally active. The organization holds at least four events a month that range in size from welcoming activities for first-years to the Technical Opportunities Conference (TOC), which has been the largest job fair on campus for over 40 years and attracts more than 250 recruiting companies to campus. Our chapter of SWE has also received much acclaim: in 2011, the National SWE awarded our section the Silver Medal for Outstanding Collegiate Section, and in 2012, CMU SWE won the Outstanding Collegiate Section Gold Award at the regional level. Other organizations for women engineering students can be found on our Female Student Resources page.
To learn more about women at the College of Engineering, read our Women in Engineering Brochure.
Stories from College of Engineering Alumnae
Linda Kaplan's love affair with bridges began in fifth grade in Armonk, New York, where she successfully built a toothpick bridge that was able to hold her weight. More than 20 years later, Kaplan is still working with bridges—only now she's designing them as an engineer for Gannett Fleming in Pittsburgh. And her peers are taking notice.
Despite an urgent need for low-cost detection technology that can identify early-stage pressure ulcers, available technology is limited and expensive. Gaspard, then and there, thought, "I could solve that." The concept of Rubitection, a startup that is developing a handheld diagnostic probe which can be placed on body areas at risk for bedsore formation, was born.
Ana Gabriela Pinczuk (E'10) is senior vice president of Services Transformation for Cisco, a worldwide leader in networking that is part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Pinczuk leads strategy, planning, acquisitions and investments, and portfolio management. She is also the newest board member of The Anita Borg Institute, which focuses on the advancement of women in computer science and engineering. Current data show a sizable gender gap when it comes to women in technology.
Alumna Carol Williams began her career in chemical engineering as a young woman who refused to sit on the sidelines. Now, she is the executive vice president of The Dow Chemical Company's Manufacturing and Engineering, Supply Chain, and Environmental Health and Safety Operations.
The designs of electrical and computer engineering alumna Nere Emiko have gained recognition in industry magazines, landed her in important trade events, and even allowed her to start her own business. But Emiko doesn't design processors, systems, circuits, or computational algorithms. She designs wedding dresses, jewelry, embroidery, and sometimes even furniture.
Civil and environmental engineering alumna Erica Spiritos hopes that, if she ever does decide to settle down to office work, she can do so with a bucket of Amazonian mud under her desk. However, for now, she is searching for opportunities and positions that will allow her to work outdoors and to help communities across the globe with her engineering knowledge.
Jacqueline Linder's big idea came to her when she was packing her lunch. The CEE alumna left her career in the high tech industry and founded LunchBots, a company that produces plastic-free food containers for people on the move.
It is hard to give you the feel of their tears or the silent moments that said so much. Family, colleagues, and friends of Judith A. Resnik don't want her just to be remembered as one of the seven astronauts who died in the Challenger Space Shuttle breakup 25 years ago. "We would like her to be remembered for her legacy as the second American woman in space, a diligent student and a wonderful human being," said Helene R. Norin, of West Akron, Ohio, Resnik's cousin. "She was bright and interested in the sciences." In fact, the large extended Resnik family has always placed great emphasis on academic achievement.