Purdue University is proud of their School of Engineering (which has brought the world big names like Wayne Hale, Keith Krach, Stephen Bechtel Jr., and Games Slayter). And that’s exactly why the school is launching a new study that aims to make the field of engineering more inclusive for women.

Purdue’s School of Engineering Education is hosting a study to look at the persistence of women in engineering. The study, titled Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Experiences of Women Tenure-Track Faculty in Engineering, has received $1.4 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

The study is being led by Monica Cox, an associate professor in the School of Engineering Education. Assistant professor Joyce Main and Ebony McGee, an assistant professor of diversity of urban schooling at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, will be assisting Cox.

“We think by understanding more about persistence, it will help from a policy perspective to understand what women in the academy are doing to succeed collectively as well as individually,” Cox said. “How are different female engineering faculty engaging, and how are they overcoming traditional barriers that some women in engineering face?”

The topic of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields has been under the microscope recently, as both the business world and academia are making great efforts to make the industry more inclusive for women.

While there are encouraging signs that change is on the way, there are still far fewer female engineers than one would hope for. In fact, only 14% of engineers today are women!

As far as the Purdue study is concerned, the hope is that the results will be able to help all women interested in engineering—not just those in academia.

“By understanding women’s stories, we anticipate others can be motivated to learn about and try some of the strategies that may have worked for others,” Main said.

It is encouraging to see studies like this receive national funding, and we’re very excited to see the results of the study once they are finally released!

Want to learn more about women in STEM? Click here for some further reading!