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Engineering Early Advantage Program Gave This Student a Head Start

Score another one for Old Dominion University's Engineering Early Advantage Program (EEAP).

The four-week program is aimed at getting admitted female engineering students acclimated to the difficult academics and male-dominated environment of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology.

Along with other efforts to promote engineering to female students, the program has helped lift the number of women in ODU's engineering programs to 15 percent, up from 11 percent only a few years earlier.

Success stories like Alicia Farrow can only help. A 2009 graduate in civil engineering, Farrow is one of 13 Hampton Roads students who have benefitted from the Integrated Internship Program of the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Farrow, who went through the EEAP program before her freshman year, is currently working on her master's in civil engineering from ODU.

In her time with the Corps of Engineers, Farrow assisted project managers with various tasks, such as updating the dredging information system. She got a first-hand look at Corps of Engineers sites such as the Craney Island Dredged Material Management Area, an economical and environmentally sustainable repository for material dredged within the Hampton Roads harbor.

Whenever possible, the District uses dredged material for beach nourishment, habitat restoration, oyster ground restoration, marsh creation or other environmental efforts.

"The best thing about my internship is that the experience is transferrable. I am able to apply some of what I've learned from my classes to my work. I'm even able to take what I learned here and apply it to my school work," Farrow said.

Beverly Forbes, director of experiential education and liaison to the Batten College Career Management Center, said Farrow is a fine example of the quality of students who have been part of the EEAP.

"I believe it is important to continue programs like the EEAP to ensure that we have excellent female engineering graduates who go on to do great things within their profession," Forbes said.

Farrow completed her internship this past summer, when she was promoted to civil engineer. Among her last duties as an intern, she completed a hydrographic survey techniques course in St. Louis.

Some of Farrow's new duties as a civil engineer include becoming district project manager for the Tangier Channels Federal Navigation projects, and the Tangier Island Section 107 Jetty project.

Her next career goal is to become a licensed professional engineer.

This article was posted on: September 18, 2009

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