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New program will recruit male allies in effort to retain women engineers

A grant from the Engineering Information Foundation will help fund a new Ohio State University program that aims to improve the retention rate of women in engineering by empowering male students as engineering allies. By helping women students feel more connected to the College of Engineering, researchers hope to create a positive and more inclusive learning environment for the entire student body.

In August, the first cohort of 20 male engineering students will attend a three-day intensive training program on what it means to be an engineering ally. Each team of five allies will then be charged with implementing five outreach efforts throughout the year, such as workshops across campus, which could impact up to 750 to 2500 students. Teams will be mentored throughout the year by an Ohio State faculty member, staff or doctoral student.

Led by Associate Director Lisa Abrams, the Allies for Women Engineers  at The Ohio State University () program is one example of how the Engineering Education Innovation Center (EEIC) works to enrich the college’s undergraduate academic experience. 

“This program has enormous potential to impact the engineering discipline,” said Abrams. “The result of this work could change the way our nation’s engineering colleges approach the issue of diversity.”

The program will also provide personal and professional growth opportunities for the men who participate.

is inspired by national organizations, like the Women in Engineering ProActive Network, who advocate for the creation of allies to help improve the climate for women in engineering. It is also influenced by the White Man’s Caucus, which Dean David B. Williams attended to learn how to create and sustain allyship efforts at the administrative/faculty level. 

Co-investigators of the $19,500 grant project include EEIC Lecturer Lauren Corrigan, Assistant Director of Academic Initiative and Assessment Mitsu Narui and doctoral student Suzanne Shoger.

Tags: Awards