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Gems in Stem

Nov 01, 2018   |   The Dartmouth

"The gender gap in STEM majors is closing in at Dartmouth, evidenced by the degree breakdowns of the Class of 2018. Out of the 1,145 Bachelor of Arts given out last year, 30 percent were under the sciences division. 12 percent were given to women and 18 percent to men," writes The Dartmouth.

"It is not uncommon to see a female student on campus finishing up her computer science problem set in the library before heading out to attend evening meetings for her sorority — it has instead become the norm. In 2016, Dartmouth made history by becoming the first national research university to achieve, and even exceed, gender parity in the number of engineering degrees awarded. This is remarkable considering that Dartmouth was one of the last Ivy League institutions to admit women. Sixty-one out of the 117 degrees belonged to women that year, and the numbers have not fallen much since.

"Emma Doherty ’21 is joining the ranks of female engineering students at Dartmouth. She is currently taking Engineering Sciences 21, 'Introduction to Engineering,' which is one of the common core courses required for the major. As a project-based class, ENGS 21 is known for being an engaging and interactive exposure to the field of engineering and its techniques, for both majors and non-majors alike.

"'It’s a great introductory course because it guides you through the process of designing and product-building, while also exposing you to a lot of different parts of Thayer,' Doherty said. 'We start out with need finding, and then once that need has been established, we go from conceptualization to actual design and testing, to an advanced prototype in the span of 10 weeks — it’s amazing.'

"Lindsey Beaudoin ’21 is also majoring in engineering and was quick to realize the need to start early in planning her degree.

"'I want to get a [Bachelor of Engineering], so I’ve had to spend a lot of time figuring out which courses I’m going to take and when I’m going to take them,' she said. 'I’ve been meeting with my advisor regularly since freshman fall.'

"Beaudoin noted that engineering students have to take a multitude of math and physics courses to fulfill the requirements for the Bachelor of Engineering, which are some classes at Dartmouth that can have a noticeable gender gap.

"'It’s not like a shocking deficit that you realize immediately as you enter the classroom, but I have noticed that some of the classes I’ve taken, especially physics, have been slightly more male-heavy,' Beaudoin said. 'But by now, I don’t really think too much about it.'"

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