Record-breaking female enrollment in Princeton Engineering freshman class

By Hilary Parker
September 17, 2007

The freshman class in the School of Engineering and Applied Science includes a record-breaking number of women, 41.7 percent of the class as of matriculation on Sept. 10.

With 254 students, the class also is the second-largest matriculating freshman class ever -- just five students shy of last year’s record size of 259.  The percentage of women in this year’s class is nearly six percentage points above last year, which held the previous all-time high.  More than 20 nations are represented in the incoming class, including Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brunei, among others.

On Sept. 10, the students were welcomed by Dean H. Vincent Poor, a 1977 Princeton graduate alumnus and faculty member for nearly two decades.

Students and their advisor

“Princeton Engineering is somewhat unique in the engineering education world in being a first-class engineering school connected to a first-class liberal arts university,” he said. “Particularly in the 21st century, engineering is increasingly at the center of many societal problems -- problems that are solved by putting politics, science and technology together.  These disciplines are blended very well at Princeton.”

After Dean Poor’s introduction, faculty and student representatives offered brief descriptions of the school’s six departments and a selection of student organizations.  Among the organizations presented were the E-Council, which is the only undergraduate student group to present teaching awards, and the Society of Women Engineers.  A barbeque on the lawn with upperclassmen and members of the faculty followed the presentations.

The students were introduced to ZebraNet -- one of the school’s many interdisciplinary research projects -- in a lecture delivered Sept. 12 by Margaret Martonosi, a professor of electrical engineering. A collaboration with biologists in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the project uses wireless networking techniques to track zebras over the rugged terrain in their natural habitat.

The Freshman Orientation program concluded with a presentation on the special opportunities available to Princeton Engineering students, including internships through the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, the Study Abroad program and a wide range of academic certificate offerings.