NYU Tandon Honored for Its Women in STEM Initiatives

Elizabeth Ensweiler, Director of Enrollment Management (center) with National Center for Women & Information Technology members and fellow award winners.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) recently honored NYU Tandon for its successes in recruiting and retaining female students in Computer Science, Integrated Digital Media, and Mechanical Engineering.  

NCWIT is a non-profit community of nearly 900 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s meaningful participation in computing. The group presented Tandon with a NEXT (NCWIT Extension Services Transformation) Award honorable mention at the 2017 NCWIT Summit on May 23. Recipients were recognized with a $10,000 gift, funded by Google.

As participants in the NCWIT Academic Alliance Extension Services program, Tandon undertook and enhanced an array of initiatives, including:

  • Improved outreach to female high school students, applicants, and admitted students through events and programs like Tandon-WEST (Women in Engineering, Science and Technology), Facebook Live, and WEST FEST
  • The Tandon Vision Campaign, an interactive app with a virtual reality device that provides another personal connection to all admitted women students
  • A summer research fellowship program that provides women students with opportunities for cutting-edge research, mentoring, and professional development activities via full-time paid internships
  • The Women at Tandon Explorations Community, which has its own residence floor within student housing, as well as programming aimed at helping female students make the most of their time at Tandon
  • The WoMentorship program, a women’s peer mentoring program that matches sophomores and juniors with seniors and graduate students to foster better understanding and help develop a strong women’s community at Tandon
  • Improved introductory courses, informed by best practices for students from underrepresented groups
  • An intentional and strategic approach implemented by an interdepartmental and cross-school collaborative team composed of faculty, staff, and administrators that identifies and implements strategies to increase recruitment, retention, and success of women students.
Last year's WEST FEST, one of the many initiatives Tandon was honored for by the National Center for Women & Information Technology

Last year's WEST FEST, one of the many initiatives Tandon was honored for by the National Center for Women & Information Technology

The members of Tandon’s NCWIT group include Associate Dean of Academic Administration Kristen Day; Professor of Integrated Digital Media DeAngela Duff; Elizabeth Ensweiler, who directs the Office of Enrollment Management; Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Phyllis Frankl; Assistant Dean for Opportunity Programs Nicole Johnson; Cindy Lewis of the Office of Enrollment Management; and Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Richard Thorsen. The group was aided by Jennifer Goodall, an NCWIT Extension Services Consultant.

“We’ve made great strides in improving gender diversity over the last few years,” Ensweiler said. “From working with Tandon’s Center for K-12 STEM Education to reach the youngest aspiring engineers to recruiting undergraduate female teaching assistants trained in fostering collaboration to hiring increasing numbers of women faculty members, we are devoted to making Tandon a welcoming and diverse place and to helping bridge the gender gap in STEM.”

Those efforts are making an undeniable impact, as NCWIT acknowledged. Between 2010 and 2016, women applicants to the departments of Computer Science and Engineering; Technology, Culture and Society; and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering increased more than six-fold, and those departments saw a collective increase in acceptances for female students of more than 300 percent. The Class of 2020 contains a record number of women, who comprise 38 percent of the group — a figure 15 percent higher than the national average.

“Diversity and opportunity have always been points of pride at Tandon, and we appreciate the recognition from NCWIT,” Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan stated. “While a few years ago having a class with equal numbers of men and women might have seemed like a pipedream, we are making progress and will continue to work hard to see that become a reality at Tandon.” 

Learn more about Women in Engineering at NYU Tandon