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Male to Female Ratio in Engineering

chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
edited March 2012 in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Hi everyone. I was accepted as a GENE major as a freshman. On Monday, I toured SLO's campus and engineering buildings. I peeked into some of the classrooms and I swear, all I saw were guys. I've heard that there aren't a lot of females in general and a good amount of them go to BMED, but I never thought it was THAT bad. SLO is now one of e colleges I'm seriously considering and I was wondering what the environment was like for women.
Post edited by chocolatechipsss on
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Replies to: Male to Female Ratio in Engineering

  • dijkstradijkstra Posts: 8Registered User New Member
    I am currently a female Engineering freshman at Cal Poly SLO. Since you're going to be majoring in GENE-- there will probably be more females in your classes than in other engineering courses. Usually it is in the upper-division courses that you will see a huge disparity (relative to the number of females in engineering in your freshman year) between the number of males and females and this is especially in ME/EE/AERO.

    Last year, the admitted Freshman Engineering class of 2015 was 20% female which is a fairly good number considering the national average which is maybe about ?15%? But of course, one has to take into consideration what's going to happen in the next two years when students finally have a good idea of what they want to do in the future-- meaning whether or not that want to stay in Engineering.

    Poly has a SWE chapter that meets every week and there are many other resources for female engineers. I can say though, I have not experienced any outwardly-displayed sexism although you will be surrounded by some guys who are consumed by the idea that they know everything and they feel the need to display their ego and maybe even force it upon others but then again-- people like that should not affect your academic success. Nonetheless, the majority of my time I feel as many of my male peers do not look into gender as an element of whether or not I can understand/apply the material.
  • engineerismeengineerisme Posts: 209Registered User Junior Member
    Still a much larger percentage than when my mom went to Cal Poly Pomona in ECE. She was one of two women in her class and there were also two women one class higher. Interestingly enough one of the woman in the one class higher was the smartest person in ECE and was recruited all over the place. She was married to someone also graduating in the same degree and to get her to work for them the company actually also offered her husband a job
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks. I'm well aware of the sexism/arrogance that some guys have towards females and in general. I think it's to be expected when guys get to a certain intelligence level, you know? Thankfully, I have enough confidence to shut them up if anything happens. ^_^ I know that ME/EE/AERO/CS (none of which I plan on changing to) are seriously lacking in girls. Which is sad because who doesn't want to be surrounded by guys? :)
    Also, ChemE is what I really want to major in, but obviously SLO doesn't have it. I was thinking of switching to Materials or just doing a concentration in GENE. Can you guys tell me specifics on the GENE major?
  • ralph4ralph4 Posts: 368Registered User Member
    I don't know much about GENE, but my son graduated last summer from Materials Engineering, and he loved his department. He, like you, thought he wanted Chemical Engineering and was accepted into ChemE at CP Pomona. He applied to CPSLO as a Materials Engineering major. After visiting SLO, he was sure he would rather attend CPSLO, so he just went with Materials. He was very happy with his choice starting at the Admitted Student Day/Open house, all the way through graduation. He now has a job as a Materials Engineer in Santa Barbara! There were a few girls (maybe 5 or 6 out of about 30) that graduated with him from Materials Engineering.
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    ralph4, thanks. I'm thinking of switching to Materials because I don't know how good being a GENE major is employment-wise. I only know the basic knowledge of ChemE and Materials. What's the main differences between the two?
  • SLO_popSLO_pop Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    At a very high level, the ChemE focus is on liquids while the MatE focus is on solids.
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    SLO_pop, do you recommend switching to MatE or just sticking to GENE with a concentration? I'm not 100% invested in ChemE, but it's definitely at the top of my list.
  • dijkstradijkstra Posts: 8Registered User New Member
    Being a general engineering major is more-flexible of course, academic wise here is the flow chart http://bmegene.calpoly.edu/media/uploads/advising_forms/BMED_2011-2013_Flow_Chart.pdf You are able to take concentration classes starting your junior year and it looks like the majority of your ENG classes will be under Materials Engineering- however, you would not be concentrated on one aspect of engineering (unlike the other ENG majors). GENE majors will typically choose to concentrate on BMED aspects since in your lower division courses are similar to those of BMED. Honestly, I would switch to MatE unless you are really unsure what you want to do, but want to do something involving engineering. Note: It is easier to switch majors within the College of Engineering generally then in another college.

    Employment wise, it really boils down to semantics. Being an employer think about what General Engineering means and what Materials Engineering means.
  • SLO_popSLO_pop Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    @chips - I don't think you'll be able to start the process of switching majors until after your first quarter. This will give you time to research the other majors, talk to your advisor, talk to some professors and students in the various majors that you are interested in, and maybe sit in on a few classes. I imagine it is fairly common to switch from GenE to other Engineering majors. Maybe this would be a good place to start looking around ==> Majors | Engineering Advising Center
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks guys. ^_^ If I end up going to SLO (which I probably will, even if I haven't heard from the UCs), I'll go through GENE and see what the other majors are like. Who knows, I might end up switching to something I never thought I'd like.
  • 2012engmom2012engmom Posts: 7Registered User New Member
    Don't let this male/female eng thing stop you from going to SLO or engineering. I'm a female eng graduated in ChE in the 80s and practicing env. eng today. I can tell you that after awhile, you will get used to it. My advice to you as an eng is be yourself. You don't need to act like a guy. My daughter got accepted in 2/22 for IE in SLO. it's her top choice. Good luck to you.
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks so much 2012engmom! There really needs to be more women in Engineering. Is your daughter going to Polycultural weekend? I'm sure I'll see her SWE meetings and functions like that.
  • EllaVirginiaEllaVirginia Posts: 70Registered User Junior Member
    I was recently accepted for general engineering - I was under the impression that you could sort of choose which type of engineering appealed to you from there. dijkstra, you said that typically General Engineering people choose BMED? This is concerning because I know that I definitely do not want to go the Bio route, as I really dislike Biology.
  • chocolatechipssschocolatechipsss Posts: 99Registered User Junior Member
    I'm pretty sure she meant that it's the most common because their flow charts overlap so much. If you're planning on switching, I would figure it out during first quarter because of the difficulty of switching after that.
  • COparentCOparent Posts: 78Registered User Junior Member
    chocolatechipsss: My older daughter is a 2nd year ARCE (Architectural Engineering) major at Cal Poly and loves it there! Yes there are more men than women in her engineering classes but she's used to it and it's never been a problem - she's always had more male than female friends. I know some engineering schools (e.g. Colorado School of Mines) that have a 2:1 or even 3:1 male/female ratio so Cal Poly is actually pretty good. You'll probably be taking some number of GE courses as well which may have a more balanced m/f ratio. Two out of my daughter's 3 roommates are environmental engineering majors - so they all support each other and are members of SWE. My younger daughter will probably be attending Cal Poly in the fall as a GENE major, so from my limited perspective, there are lots of female engineering students at Cal Poly!
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