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College Search Strategies
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College Search Strategies Blog

"Finding College STEM programs that are right for your student" from Dare 2B Digital Conference, 3/1/14

There are many STEM programs in wonderful universities and colleges across the nation! Below are the names of some I received from professional educators and colleges, as well as comments. Also a few links for internship or camp-type activities to learn more about the world of STE(A*) M…

Nancy Wigley speaking at Dare 2B Digital 2014(A* is for Artistic/Creative Arts students)

College programs recommended:

  • Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
  • Smith College
  • Purdue University
  • U of Connecticut
  • Dartmouth College
  • Binghamton University (SUNY)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • SUNY Stony Brook
  • U of Central Florida
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Whitman College
  • U of Washington
  • U of Pennsylvania

Of course there are many, many, others. The key is to look for programs with women faculty, women engineering/science student organizations (examples: Society for Women in Engineering –SWE; and Women in Science and Engineering-WISE) as well as campus culture and the content of the courses available.

Department focus, faculty and summer programs may change. Try not to assume that what “was” continues to be what “is” when the time comes for your daughter to apply. As you know, our world is changing quickly, and colleges make every attempt to stay current, and even, ahead of the trends.

Below are words directly received from college admissions specialists: (Thank you to all who willing shared their thoughts and insights with me!)

For more information, contact Nancy Wigley at College Search Strategies.

If there is strong and active support and mentoring for women in STEM, they will likely thrive and be well prepared for the workplace.  More information and research on mentoring in STEM can be found lots of places, such as http://paesmem.net/.  

In terms of majors, women tend to be drawn more to the life sciences and less to the physical and mathematical sciences--if you look at the demographics within specific science majors, you'll see that women are better-represented (and often even well-represented) in biology, yet minimally represented within physics and computer science.  The same is true within the various engineering fields as well--more women study biological engineering than electrical engineering--although women on the whole pursue engineering less often than they pursue science.  (This report is a few years old, but the trends still hold true:  http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acs-18.pdf)  Of course, the specifics on different college campuses vary--for example, Carnegie Mellon made a concerted effort to transform their campus culture and support women in computer science in the late '90s and early '00s, and they saw some major results from their efforts.  I don't know what the stats are for them right now, but their enrollment went from 8% female to 42% female in 5 years, which is phenomenal. (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/project/gendergap/www/ and http://women.cs.cmu.edu/ for more info.)  

Meredith Graham, Director of College Counseling
Collegewise—Lexington MA

You should look into the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). It is an exciting opportunity for girls.  I am familiar with the program at Stony Brook, which several years ago was an exciting program filled with research opportunities and graduate schools.  

Elizabeth White, Certified College Admission Counselor

If they are serious about STEM, they should look into the women's colleges.  Bryn Mawr College has more women who go on to graduate degrees than any other college in the country if I recall correctly.  They also have a 4 + 1 masters connection with University of Pennsylvania in engineering as well as other disciplines. 

The women's colleges are dedicated to their students, the faculty is highly accessible as education women is their entire focus.

Gene M. Pula-Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 

  • Look for colleges that have a SWE (society of women in engineering) program
  • Look for programs that expose students to different aspects of STEM.  Bio is the most popular of the STEM majors because it seems the most user-friendly or pre-med like.  Encourage programs and exploration of smaller STEM majors, like civil engineering, aerospace, agricultural engineering, and so on. 

Nancy Wigley of College Search Strategies speaking at Dare 2b Digital 2014COLLEGES/UNIVERSITY/ SUMMER RECOMMENDATIONS

At Binghamton University we have the Watson School of Engineering with 5 different majors. I studied in this school as an undergraduate and was impressed with the flexibility.  Freshmen year all engineering students are grouped together prior to picking their major choice (they pick at the end of their freshmen year).  It was often the case that females would group together as well when deciding which field to study in. It varied year to year, but popular choices were bioengieering, mechanical engineering, and industrial and systems engineering.   The biggest thing about Binghamton is that the foundation in the liberal arts with our Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, so the overall feel over the university is not just an engineering or science school.  In any case, STEM fields are in demand, and once students get over the fear of complexity, they can find them to be a good fit. The collaborative nature of the Binghamton body really lends a hand to students working together to accomplish the difficult workload of the STEM student life. http://www.binghamton.edu/index.php

Craig Broccoli  | Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions| Binghamton University

At Smith, for instance, over a third of our students major in STEM...and we also offer an engineering major.  I think you'll find many more women major in STEM at women's colleges that at coed liberal arts colleges...at least at Smith they do!

Dartmouth College is a leader in creating and supporting STEM opportunities for women.  http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wisp/

Georgia Tech also provides great support for women in STEM.  Our undergraduate admission office holds a program, FUTURES, every year that welcomes prospective women to learn more about the disciplines in the STEM field as well as explore the Georgia Tech campus here in Atlanta.  The program also allows prospective women to meet with faculty, staff and current students and learn more about our "hands on" approach to education.  Above all, this program lets women know that they are supported here on campus from the very beginning.  Women are strongly supported and truly valued here at Tech.  I've included the link to the program website http://admission.gatech.edu/visit/futures

Stephanie Strouts -Admissions Counselor, Undergraduate Admission
Georgia Institute of Technology

The admission officer at GWU said that there is a large female presence on the engineering faculty at George Washington.

Bryn Mawr College  has a program with University of Pennsylvania

https://www.seas.upenn.edu/prospective-students/graduate/programs/masters/index.php

University of Washington also has a program and offers a weekend information session on campus in the spring I believe.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You could check the WISE web site to see what other universities are involved in the program.

UConn just launched a STEM Scholars program, not solely focused on Women in STEM, but a new program no less.  More information can be found here: http://admissions.uconn.edu/node/5540 Also, we just hired one of the nation’s rising female faculty members in Additive Manufacturing.  UConn is trying to gain some traction in this particular area.

Nathan Fuerst, Director of Undergraduate Admissions,
Division of Enrollment Planning and Management
UConn

University of Central Florida has programs open and supportive of women. http://www.cecs.ucf.edu

At Smith, for instance, over a third of our students major in STEM...and we also offer an engineering major.  I think you'll find many more women major in STEM at women's colleges that at coed liberal arts colleges...at least at Smith they do!

Debra Shaver, Admissions, Smith College  www.smith.edu

Dartmouth College is a leader in creating and supporting STEM opportunities for women.  http://www.dartmouth.edu/~wisp/

SUMMER PROGRAM

For summer programs and pre-college programs you might also check out www.teenink.com 

Stanford Splash is terrific for low-key exposure to STEM fields https://stanfordesp.org/