By the numbers: Women at Princeton Engineering

By Hilary Parker
October 26, 2007

This fall, the School of Engineering and Applied Science had the highest-ever percentage of women in its freshman class and in its graduate student body.

The engineering school’s freshman class includes 106 women, representing 41.7 percent of the class. With 254 students, the matriculating class is the second-largest 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 was the previous all-time high.

   •  Forty-two of the first-year students enrolled in Princeton’s graduate programs in engineering, or 32 percent, are women. The nationwide average of women enrolled in graduate engineering is about 20 percent.

   •  The percentage of female faculty members in Princeton’s engineering school has doubled over the last 10 years, from 7.7 percent in 1997 to 15.4 percent (20 faculty members) in 2007. The percentage of women on the engineering faculty at Princeton and the rate at which female representation on the engineering faculty is increasing are both well above the national average. According to statistics from the American Society of Engineering Education, the average percentage of female faculty members in engineering schools was 8.9 percent in 2001 and 11.3 percent in 2006. In comparison, women accounted for 10.1 percent of the engineering faculty at Princeton in 2001 and 14.8 percent in 2006.

   •  The engineering school has a number of high-profile female faculty members, including MacArthur “genius grant” winners Naomi Ehrich Leonard, who received her undergraduate degree in engineering from Princeton, and Claire Gmachl, director of a major new engineering research center at Princeton focused on sensor technology. In January, the current chair of Princeton’s chemical engineering department, Kyle Vanderlick, will become the first female dean of the engineering school at Yale University.

   •  The school counts among its graduate alumnae many female leaders in education, including Leah Jamieson, dean of engineering at Purdue University; Alice Gast, president of Lehigh University; and Linda Abriola, dean of engineering at Tufts University.