The College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering program (CPP WE) earned the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity, the largest and longest-running diversity magazine and website in higher education.
“We sought to build a program that provides a welcoming environment for women to thrive in engineering,” said Cordelia Ontiveros, founder of the program and professor emerita for the chemical and materials engineering department. “We aspire for CPP WE to be a valuable resource for women in engineering for years to come.”
Since 2007, more than 6,000 students have participated in CPP WE. First-time freshman female enrollment has grown to 21 percent, which is 8 percentage points higher than in fall 2007.
Awarded for its work in recruiting, retaining and graduating more women in engineering, CPP WE promotes a close community for students and faculty through positive recruitment and retention activities. Proactive K-12 outreach efforts aim to engage young women to increase their awareness of the possibilities of engineering and its positive impact on society.
Undergraduate and graduate engineering students at Cal Poly Pomona participate in a variety of activities, such as monthly WE Chats to interact with female engineering faculty, quarterly alumnae speaker events, and engaging with alumnae in industry to develop relationships and learn more about opportunities in the workforce.
“CPP WE has encouraged more females to enroll as engineering students,” said Kristina Rigden, director of CPP WE and College of Engineering outreach programs. “We hope to maintain this growth trend as we continue to recruit, retain and graduate more female engineers.”
Computer engineering student Shannen Sharma can attest to the program’s benefits.
“CPP WE has provided me with a strong and supportive community throughout my whole college career, which is very important being a female in the engineering program,” Sharma said. “I have been participating in this program since my first year of college and have met so many lifelong friends. It has been such a rewarding experience.”