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Undergraduate women in chemical engineering : exploring why they come
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by C Brawner, S Lord, Matthew Ohland
That women are underrepresented in most engineering disciplines is not news to those who study engineering matriculation practices. There are, however, some disciplines within engineering that attract a higher than average percentage of women which we term “pockets of success.” Oneof these pockets of success is chemical engineering (ChE) which nationwide graduates 35% women compared with only 20% of all engineering graduates.1,2 Extensive research has been done on students’ motivations for choosing science, technology, mathematics, and technology (STEM) majors in college.In this paper, we address some of the reasons that women choose to major in chemical engineering. We use quantitative data from the MIDFIELD database to show the relative attractiveness of chemical engineering to women compared with other engineering fields and explore findings from two focus groups with women chemical engineering majors to shed light on why these women chose the major.