Members of the Olin community respond to NYT “How To Attract Female Engineers” article

May 6, 2015 – 11:33 am

A collaboratively written letter to the editor of the New York Times article (April 27, pill 2015) “How To Attract Female Engineers, visit web “ which inspired my previous blog post on the subject.

To Professor Nilsson we say: “Yes, price and.”

Increasing the percentage of women in engineering will better the field, expanding the kinds of work engineers do. We are professors, students, staff, and alumni from an engineering school enrolling 50% women, many in traditional fields of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Here students, across the curriculum, do technical engineering work embedded in social context, from designing equipment for small-scale farmers to building prosthetic fingers for a grandmother who wants to play LEGO with grandchildren.

We absolutely need more of this in engineering. But let’s not accidentally create “caring enclaves” for women, where this work may be perceived as less technical (and thus easier) than traditional engineering work. We often hear that traditional engineering (i.e., male-dominated, ultra-technical, not-people-oriented) is technically more difficult. This assertion is untrue and damaging: it can lead to the expectation that the rest of engineering is fine as is. Siloing women in “caring” forms of engineering may perpetuate the very gender-based stereotypes and hierarchies that many of us work to eradicate as we battle everyday sexism in the field.

The authors of this letter are all affiliated with Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts (faculty, staff, students, alumni).

Debbie Chachra
Ingrid Hagen-Keith
Caitrin Lynch
Alisha Sarang-Sieminski
Lynn Andrea Stein
Lauren Taaffe
Yevgeniya V. Zastavker
Rehana Patel
Sara Hendren
Anne LoVerso
Mitchell Cieminski
Gabrielle Waldman-Fried
Ellen Chisa
Diana Vermilya
Carmella McCormack
Kari Bender
Kate Maschan
Eric Munsing
Boris Taratutin
Rebecca J. Christianson
Elizabeth Kneen
Kate Dramstad
Mikell Taylor
Carisa Rubi Leal
Jessica Townsend
Emily Wang
Kristina Cary
Sarah Waskom
Joanne Pratt
Meagan Vaughan
Melissa Yu
Rachel Mathew
Chen Santillan Wang
Pearl Donohoo-Vallett
Maruta Vitols
Jennifer Simonovich
Natalie Mattison
Julianna Stockton
Alison Shin
Ananya Kejriwal
Erika Swartz
Jessie Lin
Suzy Hong
Rachel Nancollas
Jessica Anderson
Mariah Dunn
Tiana Veldwisch
Victoria Hsiao
Preeta Willemann
Jessica Noglows
Jackie Rose
Morgan Boes
Meryl Stark
Kristen Dorsey
Mel Chua
Heena Mutha
Emily Tisei Moscol
Ash Walker
Angela Sharer
Casey Landey
Kimly Do
Bukky Adebayo
Leah Mendelson
Kendall Pletcher
Gracie Sanford
Rachel Bobbins
Jessi Murray
Sara Wheeland
Jessica Donahoe
Rebecca Schutzengel
Kristina Raposa
Sharon Breitbart
Linda Canavan
Molly Farison
Charleen Laughlin
Lawrence Neeley
Rob Martello
Jordyn Burger
Andrea Lai
Herbert Chang
Ilana Walder-Biesanz
Alyssa Levitz
Jeffrey Atkinson
Sarah Walters
Siddhartan Govindasamy
Sebastian Dziallas
Becky Belisle
Allison Bahme
Chris Carrick
Matt Wootton
David Adamec
Harold Jaffe
Stanislaw Antol
Allen Koh
Joan Liu
Erika Boeing
Ariana Chae
Jennifer Wei
Ambika Goel
Bill Warner
Cody Wheeland
Dave Rowley
Sarah Leavitt

(If you’re an Olin community member and want to support this post, feel free to add your name and Olin affiliation in a comment below.)

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  1. 28 Responses to “Members of the Olin community respond to NYT “How To Attract Female Engineers” article”

  2. I want to add my name to this list as an alum!

    By Jordyn Burger on May 6, 2015

  3. Please add me to the supporting list as well! (Alum) — I missed the post when it appeared on Facebook. Thanks!

    By Andrea Lai on May 6, 2015

  4. +me too!

    p.s. hi Mel!

    By herbert chang on May 6, 2015

  5. +me, too!

    By Ilana Walder-Biesanz on May 6, 2015

  6. Me! (alum’11)

    By Alyssa Levitz on May 6, 2015

  7. I strongly support this message. All engineering, for everyone!
    (Alum, ’12)

    By Jeffrey Atkinson on May 6, 2015

  8. Please add my name as well! (’17)

    By Sarah Walters on May 6, 2015

  9. I strongly support this post.
    - Siddhartan

    By Siddhartan Govindasamy on May 6, 2015

  10. I agree with you. While I think a curriculum change is in order, there must be some change in the policies that regulate promotion in industry and academia so that women are promoted at the same rates as men. Unless this happens, curriculum changes may lead to more women students, but it will not lead to systemic changes in the hierarchy of the profession overall. Furthermore, the types of curriculum change need to extend beyond engineers “helping” those who were put in the position of being helped by a White supremacist, capitalidt, imperialist, patriarchy and then turning around and using a curriculum that just never acknowledges that. Engineering curriculum must be devised that benefits women as women, and not just those who get to be on the right side of the border to get to “help” others with it.

    By Canek on May 6, 2015

  11. +me please! (Alum, ’10)

    By Becky Belisle on May 6, 2015

  12. I support this. Add me too, please? (’14)

    By Sebastian Dziallas on May 6, 2015

  13. + me (if former Olin community members can sign!)

    By Allison Bahme on May 6, 2015

  14. +me too!

    By Chris Carrick on May 6, 2015

  15. +support for this message! (Olin ’09)

    By Matt Wootton on May 6, 2015

  16. +me for support. Love that this gets to the point of the unease I felt while reading that op-ed.

    By David Adamec on May 6, 2015

  17. Hear, hear!

    By Harold Jaffe on May 6, 2015

  18. +me as well.

    By Stanislaw Antol on May 6, 2015

  19. +me too (Olin ’13)

    By Allen Koh on May 7, 2015

  20. +me, Olin ’09

    By Joan Liu on May 7, 2015

  21. +me, Olin ’10

    By Erika Boeing on May 7, 2015

  22. +me, Olin ’15

    By Ariana Chae on May 7, 2015

  23. +1! I agree with this – please add me as well.
    (c/o 2017)

    By Jennifer Wei on May 7, 2015

  24. I agree! Please add me to the list

    By Ambika Goel on May 7, 2015

  25. +me, ’2016.5

    By Bill Warner on May 7, 2015

  26. Well said! Count me in!

    By Cody Wheeland on May 7, 2015

  27. Me too (Parent ’14)

    By Dave Rowley on May 7, 2015

  28. Agreed! Class of 2006

    By Sarah Leavitt on May 7, 2015

  29. Added names to the post itself for all the Olin community member requests above this comment.

    By Mel on May 19, 2015

What do you think?