DISSERTATION DEFENSE ANNOUNCEMENT Ph.D. in Higher Education Program: Magy Georges “Women in Interdisciplinary Engineering”

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

This study explores the factors influencing women’s enrollment, experiences, and retention within the Applied Science Engineering (ASE) program at Rutgers University, with a specific focus on the packaging engineering concentration. Amidst the broader context of women’s underrepresentation in engineering fields, this research aims to elucidate the complex interplay of personal, familial, academic, and social dynamics that shape women’s participation in this interdisciplinary engineering program. Employing a qualitative case study methodology and drawing on Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) framework, the study conducts semi-structured interviews with ten female students in the ASE program to capture their multifaceted experiences. The findings reveal that early exposure to STEM, nurtured through family encouragement and educational initiatives, plays a crucial role in cultivating interest in engineering among women. Mentorship and role modeling emerge as pivotal in supporting women’s navigation through their engineering education, providing both inspiration and practical guidance. The interdisciplinary nature of the ASE program, integrating scientific inquiry with creative problem-solving, attracts women seeking a holistic and impactful engineering education. Furthermore, the study highlights the significance of a supportive academic and social environment, characterized by gender inclusivity, accessible faculty, and a strong community of peers, in sustaining women’s engagement in the program. Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and co-operative education, are identified as key factors in reinforcing students’ professional identity and readiness for the engineering workforce. This study enriches our comprehension of the multifaceted aspects that draw and keep women in interdisciplinary engineering programs, emphasizing the need for strategic educational approaches to break down barriers to women’s full engagement and achievement in engineering.

To access the Zoom link required to attend, please contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu.