FALL 2001 VOLUME
6, NUMBER 2
the professions by the inroads made by women, and engineering
comes near the bottom of the list. Male graduates of baccalaureate
engineering programs outnumber their female peers by a ratio of
four to one, while in industry the gender gap stretches even wider:
nine of ten engineering jobs are held by men. Mount Holyoke is
trying to help balance the equation.
R. Bill '01, shown here with UMass engineering professor Jonathan
Upchurch, has set her sights on becoming a civil engineer.
(See story below.)
efforts have been made to increase the participation of women
in engineering and the sciences. Colleges of engineering have
created programs aimed at attracting women. Several liberal arts
institutions have established their own engineering programs.
Mount Holyoke, through an enterprising new private/public collaboration
with the nearby University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is taking
a new approach--one that offers students unique advantages.
new five-year, dual-degree program will allow students working
toward a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics or one of the
sciences at Mount Holyoke to also earn a bachelor of science degree
in chemical, mechanical, civil, electrical, or computer systems
engineering from the nearby University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Students will earn two degrees in five years of study, receiving
both an excellent liberal arts education and a world-class professional
degree, without either being diluted. Yet the two degrees will
cost no more in tuition than would a single degree.
student will be a resident at the College in her first, second,
and fourth years, and at the university in her third year, taking
courses through the Five College Exchange. She will be enrolled
at Mount Holyoke for her first four years, receiving her A.B.
from the College at the end of that time, and will then be enrolled
at UMass for her fifth year, receiving her B.S. from that institution.
Mount Holyoke will collect four years of tuition, room, and board,
and handle all tuition arrangements. The student will be responsible
for her room and board in her fifth year. The new collaboration
is similar to engineering programs the College offers with Dartmouth
College and the California Institute of Technology. However, the
UMass connection offers students the tuition advantage, as well
as the ability to maintain closer ties to friends and activities
at the College.
this new collaboration, Mount Holyoke continues its historic role
as a leader in the education of women in the sciences. For more
information about the dual-degree program, visit http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/math/other/engineering_01.htm.
Bill '01: Trailblazer
Bill has long been interested in basic Newtonian physics.
Engineering has also held appeal for her for some time.
But when she was applying to colleges, the idea of attending
a four-year engineering school left her cold. For Bill,
a well-rounded education was important; she enrolled at
Mount Holyoke in 1997 and focused on the sciences.
Four years later, after earning a degree from Mount Holyoke
in physics and classics, Bill is pursuing a bachelor of
science degree in civil engineering at the University at
Massachusetts, Amherst. She designed her own course of study,
but it mirrors almost exactly the College’s new collaborative
engineering program with the university. Thus, Bill is an
unwitting trailblazer--one who is thrilled that the path
is being smoothed for those who will come after her.
Initially apprehensive about leaving an all-women environment
to study at UMass, she quickly discovered that she could
more than hold her own there. In fact, in a course on transportation
engineering, she was one of the top two students in a class
of twenty-seven. “Andrea was very well prepared for her
engineering classes,” says Jonathan Upchurch, a professor
in the department of civil and environmental engineering
at UMass. Upchurch appreciates the perspective Bill brings
to her work: “The liberal arts background does make someone
more aware that there is a people side to the equation,
as well as a technical side,” he says.
would not have been able to go through with studying engineering
if I hadn’t gone to Mount Holyoke,” Bill says. “The College
gave me the self-confidence and solid foundation I needed.”
Bill, a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor
society, credits her research abilities, her people skills,
her writing talents, and her approach to solving problems
to her education at a women’s institution.