Local News

N.C. State Female Freshmen 'WISE' Up For Engineering

Posted September 10, 2003 5:09 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University is helping female students who are interested in science and engineering programs.

Sixty-one female freshmen are enrolled in the WISE -- Women in Science and Engineering -- program. The students in the program also live in the same dorm.

"You have the constant support of knowing your suitemates and knowing people on your floor," chemistry major Amber Pechtel said.

"I have gotten a lot of help with homework that I needed. You get to know new people with the same issues as you also," civil engineering major Niya Daniel said.

Six upperclass women majoring in science, statistics, math and engineering live in the dorm too and serve as mentors.

"I might sit down and work out a problem with them and if it's something I haven't had, I can refer them to who they need to go to," mentor Pam Raper said.

Laura Bottomley, the program's director, said many people on campus questioned why WISE was needed.

"Haven't women achieved equity in all the fields there are? This is 2003 after all, and the fact of the matter is they haven't," she said.

Officials have said there has not been a lot of change in the last 10 years when it comes to the female student population and science and engineering programs at N.C. State. Twenty percent of female N.C. State students have been enrolled in engineering programs and 12 percent of female N.C. State students have been enrolled in physics programs.

The women in the WISE program are reaching out to younger girls too. They serve as mentors for students in kindergarten -- all the way through twelfth grade.