Though Lehigh's women engineering population of 28% well exceeds the national average of 18-20%, Lehigh Engineering continues to develop opportunities to help young women succeed in the field.
Lehigh Women Engineers (LWE) is a group connects first-year engineering females with each other as well as upperclassman mentors. The group hosted a panel discussion in November to allow four alumna women engineers and scientists to discuss their experiences in the workplace, and give advice to the current crop of women engineering students who will soon embark upon their own careers.
First-year Lehigh engineering student Fortunate Tshirangwana ’18 recalled attending a different engineering-focused panel earlier in the year, and reports there was only one woman on that panel. "It felt like she almost had to justify why she’s a CEO -- something the other panelists didn’t have to do ," Tshirangwana explains. "I feel like this sort of event provides a different perspective."
Partially supported through a grant from UGI Utilities, Inc., the goal of the annual cycle of programming is to support women engineers toward academic success. In the process, these young women will grow to become mentors to successive generations of women engineers.
Support for this program is a key component of UGI's community relations effort. The firm, a natural gas and electric utility serving some 660,000 customers across 45 counties in Pennsylvania and one county in Maryland, believes women engineers often find themselves underrepresented in the workplace as well as the classroom. Support for LWE is one way that UGI is working with its community to help level the playing field in its industry.
LWE will be organizing a keynote speaker presentation as well as a community celebration later in the Spring semester; stay tuned to the LWE Web site for further details.