Women in Engineering Program

Barbara Ruel
Director, Women in Engineering Program
School of Engineering

From the Director

According to a January 2008 population survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 46 percent of the civilian labor force that is 20 years old or older are women.

Yet the most recent data from a National Science Foundation indicated that only 11 percent of all engineers in the labor force were women.

Rensselaer is working to change that.

-Barbara Ruel
Director, Women in Engineering Program


Rensselaer partners with corporation such as Boeing, CISCO, Merck, and UTC to offer scholarships for Rensselaer's women engineering students.

For scholarship information - contact Barbara Ruel, ruelb [at] rpi [dot] edu


Design Your Future Day

Through fun, dynamic and interactive sessions, this day is designed to spark interest in high-tech fields and to provide encouragement for young women to pursue technical careers.

Society of Women Engineers →

SWE is a unique opportunity to meet other women on campus with similar interests as your own, give and receive support, and create a network of friends. We offer opportunities including corporate guests and interview/resume training.

Women's Mentorship Program →

The Women at Rensselaer Mentor Program is a peer mentor program that matches first-year undergraduate female students who request a mentor with an upper class female student in the same or related major.

-Dr. Linda S. Schadler
Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education

From the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education

Welcome to Rensselaer's School of Engineering, a college that graduates engineers at the cutting edge of their field and who will lead the teams that will solve society's most challenging problems. We are committed to Better World Engineering!

I am writing to tell you a bit about what I love about Rensselaer and the many opportunities that are available to you.

I came to Rensselaer because it was an institution conducting impactful research that also focused on undergraduate education.

There are many schools that do outstanding research, and many schools that focus on undergraduate education, but at Rensselaer we have a great balance between training graduate students in cutting edge research and providing an outstanding undergraduate education. Our classrooms emphasize hands-on learning, faculty interaction, and exposure to real world problems.

That means our undergraduates have opportunities to work in laboratories conducting some of the most exciting research of our era, but also to interact closely with our faculty in the classroom.

For example, I am part of the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, where new technologies and applications are being developed that are changing the way society uses lighting. In addition, I teach a junior level class in mechanical properties in which the students are put in teams, provided with a metal alloy, and challenged to change the properties of that alloy to meet the requirements of an aircraft wing, or a nanomanufacturing tool.

I also love that 30% of the students entering Rensselear's school of engineering in the fall of 2011 were women, and that our women students have higher grade point averages and fill more of the leadership positions than the men.

Clearly we have an outstanding group of women students! They also gain leadership experience through classes taught by our Archer Center for Student Leadership, and then apply those skills in organizations across campus.

In addition, to the many groups on campus led by women, we have a nationally recognized Society of Women Engineers chapter that has won several awards, and hosted the regional conference twice in the last ten years.

This women's network is further strengthened by the School of Engineering's Women's Mentoring Program. This program is run by the School of Engineering for the whole campus, and creates a strong sense of community not only between the women students, but all the students on campus.

Outside of the classroom students can gain valuable career experience through opportunities in undergraduate researchCo-Ops and internships, design teams such asthe Solar Car, and student groups focused on a sustainable world (Engineers without BordersEngineers for a Sustainable World).

I also love that many of our students are athletes and that while academics come first, our faculty celebrate the athletic achievements of our students. We are proud of our scholar athletes.

At Rensselaer, we are committed to community outreach and to improving the scientific and technical literacy of the public. Our students help us in this endeavor through one day events such as Exploring Engineering day, organized by SWE and our Design Your Future Day targeted for female high school students. In addition, we have year-long programs such a our Engineering Ambassador's program. The Engineering Ambassadors program is made up of undergraduate students with a strong academic record and a real passion for encouraging middle and high school students to consider careers in engineering. They are trained in an engaging presentation style for a younger audience that describes how engineers solve real world problems that make a difference. This experience builds a strong foundation of confidence, leadership and communication skills for our undergraduates.

I hope that some of the things that I love about Rensselaer will be of interest to you. If you haven't been to campus, come visit us. If you are already on campus, get involved, and join some of the fun!

-Dr. Linda S. Schadler
Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education