WomEngineers Day Helping Students Tackle Key Issues

A visible sign of the commitment of UT’s Tickle College of Engineering to a more diverse student population will soon return to World’s Fair Park.

WomEngineer’s Day, to be held April 22 at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park, will bring together a series of speakers and panels to discuss topics including leadership, the importance of inclusion, and how to balance career and family.

“We’re excited to have this chance to bring a wide array of topics and perspectives in front of students,” said Taylor Short, an electrical engineering major who serves on the college’s WomEngineer’s Leadership Council and is helping to plan the event. “We’re reaching out to college students at various stages in their academic careers and high school students contemplating a STEM path in college.

“The topics we will cover will be applicable to all.”

Short said the event would feature three keynote addresses interwoven with four breakout sessions, each of which will have a choice of three topics for students to attend.

Examples of breakout subjects range from choosing an academic path and meeting with advisors to networking and managing your image.

The idea for the biennial event sprang out of concerns expressed to members of the college’s board of advisors during a meeting in the fall of 2014.

While the number of women studying in the college has steadily grown—its 22 percent rate of female students is higher than the national average—there was a need for more opportunities for them to network and collaborate.

WomEngineers Day was created to provide those opportunities—and all students, female and male, are encouraged to attend.

“We anticipate having around 600 students attend this year,” said Short. “The event itself helps provide attention to some areas of concern for our students, but just having formed the group is a benefit all of its own.”

In fact, the WomEngineer’s Leadership Council has helped ensure that the message of inclusion doesn’t wane.

This fall, the group held a welcome dinner for incoming students.

“We had various groups from within the college come and meet with them, and they sat with students from the departments where they have declared their majors,” said Short. “It helps them feel more welcome from the start, which is one of the overall goals of this whole idea, to make people feel welcomed.”

CONTACT:

David Goddard (865-974-0683, david.goddard@utk.edu)