Dartmouth College's Class of 2016 made history this past commencement season when the institution awarded more undergraduate engineering degrees to women than men. This was not only a first for Dartmouth, but for any national research university, according to USA Today. Women are drastically outnumbered in engineering -- just 19 percent of undergraduates pursuing engineering are women.
The Class of 2016 at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering was 54% female. Joseph Helble, dean of the Thayer School, told USA Today that Dartmouth has seen consistent growth in its proportion of female engineers.
"Our overall approach to engineering, and engineering education, is what is attracting women to our program,” Helble told USA Today.
The Thayer School has a project-based curriculum and opens engineering classes to all majors.
"We hope our experience at Dartmouth is just the start of a trend that is drawing an increasingly diverse group of students to engineering,” Helble said.
Josh Payne, a Thayer School alum, took to Twitter to express his emotions upon hearing the news.
Stephanie Emenyonu, a graduate of the historic Thayer class, told USA Today that Dartmouth's Women in Science Project was a positive influence. The program provides research opportunities and mentoring to first year students.
“The engineering program allowed me to explore many fields, then hone into what I really like,” she said. "I think that’s one of the strong points that keeps all types of engineers in the program."
Congrats to Dartmouth for making a huge step in history, and to all of the women who earned their degree!
Lead Image Credit: Josue Mendivil via Flickr Creative Commons