Dartmouth graduated more women than men in engineering this year

Dartmouth just became the first national research university to graduate more women than men in the engineering department.

More women have been going into engineering in the last several years, according to the American Society for Engineering Education (AASE), and women made up 37 percent of the class in Dartmouth’s engineering school in 2015. But women tipped the scales this year at a whopping 54 percent at Dartmouth — 34 percent higher than the national average.

Dartmouth’s culture encourages students to take technology and applied science courses, but dean of engineering Joseph Helble attributes the dramatic rise not only to providing students across disciplines with entry-level engineering courses but also to “building a diverse population of role models” within the school. The move helped female students relate to successful mentors in the department and encouraged them to consider a career in engineering.

“We’ve been able to attract more students, and especially women, by letting them use engineering to solve real-world challenges,” Helble said. “They quickly learn how their creativity and engineering skills can make a real difference.”

Women in Dartmouth’s engineering program also tackled many unique projects, including improving medical devices, smartphone technology and new ways to reduce concussions from playing football.