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Engineering Early Advantage Program Still Has Openings for Admitted Female Engineering Students

There are still openings for aspiring women engineers in Old Dominion University's Engineering Early Advantage Program.

The Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology has offered the program for the past nine years to help admitted female freshmen become acclimated to the challenging, male-dominated environment they are about to enter.

Beverly Forbes, director of experiential education and liaison to the engineering college, reports that the track record of female students who have gone through the four-week program is solid.

"The socialization and connections are what's really important for these girls," Forbes said.

"Then, when they get into a classroom in math or engineering, and they're one of one or two women in the whole class, they've got that contact and can feel more comfortable."

One of the students who completed the program, Katherine Sammons, graduated last December with a grade point average of 3.98, the highest in the engineering college, Forbes said.

The four-week Engineering Early Advantage Program begins the week of July 13.

This year, the students will once again work under the tutelage of engineers and scientists at ODU's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. At VMASC, they will work on projects such as creating a geo-specific 3-D building and building a Web interface to a database containing hardware and software information.

"VMASC doesn't get anything for doing this. They simply believe in and support the program. We're incredibly appreciative," Forbes said.

The program will also include field trips to local ODU engineering enterprise centers and companies. It ends with a luncheon and final presentation by the student groups, attended by a number of senior Batten College faculty and administrators, including Dean Oktay Baysal.

The students are paid $11 per hour for 13 hours a week during the program.

The Engineering Early Advantage Program is part of the engineering college's effort to attract and retain female students in the traditionally male-dominated field. Other outreach initiatives to prospective and current students include the Womengineers Day program, which has been in existence for several years.

Questions about the program may be directed to Beverly Forbes at bforbes@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: June 8, 2009

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.