More women study at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering than ever before

Lizzie Jespersen and Sarah White

A record number of women enrolled in the Cockrell School of Engineering for the fall 2013 semester.

Women make up 29 percent of the school’s freshman class this semester, a first. Additionally, 1,345 of the 5,614 undergraduates, or 24 percent of the students, within the college are women.

“I am thrilled and proud that the Cockrell School’s female enrollment numbers are hitting all-time highs and falling in line with national trends,” said Sharon Wood, interim dean of the Cockrell School and the first woman to hold that position, in a statement. “We will continue to provide programs and initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining women in engineering. These students bring perspectives and problem-solving skills that will propel the field of engineering forward.”

Sandra Zaragoza, spokeswoman for the engineering school, said UT’s increase in female enrollment is in keeping with national trends.

“More women are enrolling in engineering nationally,” Zaragoza said.

Tricia Berry, director of the Women in Engineering Program at the engineering school, said the program has been in existence at the University for 22 years. Berry said during that period, the percentage of women enrolled in the college has been steadily increasing.

According to Berry, program initiatives designed to attract women include hosting summer camps focused on introducing girls to opportunities in engineering and creating mentorship programs meant to connect current students and UT alumnae with potential students.

“When you have a more diverse student body, this brings a lot more to the table,” Berry said. “There’s a lot more creativity, lot more variety brought to the classroom. When you have a lot more diversity in your environment, you have a lot more solutions.”