I am an undergraduate student in the Department of Biological and
Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University and am currently
working on a paper for my summer internship. In my research, I have found
statistics showing that Biological Engineering as a discipline appears to have
a higher percentage of women than other more traditional engineering
disciplines. The purpose of my project is to investigate why these percentages
are higher. I am referring to Biological Engineering as the application of
biology to biological systems through the use of engineering techniques. This
includes agricultural, bioprocess, biotechnical systems (including genetics),
food, human, medical, rehabilitation, and environmental engineering. I
propose that the lack of entrenchment in this field and the appeal of its
being a recent addition among engineering disciplines (and not as much
of a leap as traditional engineering areas from biology and health care
fields which have an even higher percentage of women) are some of the key
factors which attract more women to this course of study. Your responses to
the following questions would be especially helpful!
Are you employed or are you a student?
If a student, what are you studying and where?
How did you become aware of biological engineering?
What about biological engineering attracted you?
Did you have any role models that influenced your interest?
What, if any, specific advantages do you feel biological engineering has to
What suggestions do you have to explain the higher percentage of women in this
Any other input that may supplement this argument, either positive or negative,
would be greatly appreciated. If you know of other people interested in this
topic, please send me e-mail so that I may contact them or forward this
information directly on to them.
Jennifer S. Dikeman
jsdikema at eos.ncsu.edu