Female Pellissippi State Community College students pursuing a career in engineering had the chance to hear from some of the nation’s most prominent women engineers at a recent conference.
“The SWE [Society of Women Engineers] conference was an amazing opportunity,” said Ravenne Hall, one of the students who attended. “The workshops were helpful and thorough. The biggest benefit was to meet all the amazing women who, just like me one day, work in the technical industry. It was very inspiring to see that women really have accomplished amazing feats and are expanding and sharing their great minds with the world.”
The conference took place in Nashville in late October. It highlighted successful female engineers and the realities that women face when they enter traditionally male-dominated fields in science, technology, engineering, and math.
“My experience at the conference was inspirational: just to be around fellow like-minded female engineers who have accomplished so much,” said Makayla Edwards.
“I learned so much, but most important to me was how to negotiate your salary. That’s invaluable information that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life,” said Ines Mena-Solano.
Hall, along with Edwards and Mena-Solano, are recipients of scholarships funded through the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, part of the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System.
The NASA grant seeks to increase enrollment and retention in STEM fields among women and underrepresented minorities.
“Women only account for about 11 percent of the enrollment in engineering technology programs in Tennessee community colleges,” said Lynn Klett, “even though women make up 61 percent of overall community college enrollment.” Klett manages the NASA grant at Pellissippi State.
“Out-of-classroom experiences like this increase retention rates for our students by encouraging them to build relationships with each other and with their professors,” said Kathleen Scruggs, student completion coach for the NASA grant at Pellissippi State.
In all, nine female Pellissippi State students attended the conference with Scruggs and Klett. The NASA grant covered not only the cost of the conference but also the students’ ongoing membership in the Society of Women Engineers.
Funding provided by the NASA grant comes through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.
For more information about Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology degree program and concentrations, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. For more about the Foundation and giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528 or visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation.
Download this press release: NASA Scholars Attend Conference