Georgia Tech touts diversity of STEM students

Georgia Tech touts diversity of STEM students

Amid a push to attract more women and minorities to technical industries, female students make up the largest share of this year’s Georgia Institute of Technology freshman class since women first were admitted in 1952.

Black students make up about 7 percent of the freshman class — a 35 percent jump from last year.

Officials at the Georgia Institute of Technology said the benchmarks prove their recruitment efforts are paying off, including current female or black students who write notes or get coffee with prospective students and alumni who follow up.

But they have a lot of work ahead. Schools that Georgia Tech officials consider peers are attracting a similar amount of students still considered minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields — or doing even better. Cornell University, for instance, reported more than 52 percent female students in this year’s freshman class, and matched Georgia Tech’s percent of black students.

Increasing diversity on campus is a key part of preparing all students for careers once they graduate and key to convincing some of the country’s best female or minority students to spend four years there, said Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admissions.

“To the best of our ability, we have to put them in problem-based classes where their peers are coming at things with a different perspective and background,” Clark said, referencing an ongoing debate about the value of college. “We talk a lot about debt versus salary, but you’re also building a network here, connections you can make and can call on in the future.”

Technology companies in Silicon Valley and throughout the country are realizing the need to hire diverse employees, said Amy Hoover, president of Hoover also co-founded an Atlanta co-working space called Strongbox West and said she sees that playing out every day in the small companies working out of the building.

“If you’re trying to put out a product for everyone — women, minorities, older people — it’s just good sense to have all types of people bringing their perspective,” Hoover said.

As part of a White House event focused on entrepreneurs, Intel recently announced that it would donate $5 million to the school for increasing the number of women and minority engineers. The donation will be used for scholarships, mentoring and workshops — similar to the efforts Georgia Tech’s Clark described for recruiting students.

Christine Brockman and Chermia Mathis remember getting emails from current Georgia Tech students during their college search, followed by even more notes after committing to join about 3,000 classmates this fall. Both are black women majoring in biomedical engineering and sat next to each other Thursday in a weekly class that gives freshman tips about how to succeed in college.

After the class discussed on time management, Brockman and Mathis said they love the number of organizations on campus for women in engineering fields but they don’t remember considering the student body make-up when deciding on a college.

“Tech was one of my top schools I wanted to go to,” said Mathis, who is from Lithonia, Georgia. “I immediately said ‘Yes.’ ”


  • michaelhallTM
    Posted at 10:25h, 16 September

    Georgia Tech touts diversity of STEM students: Amid a push to attract more women and minorities to technical…

  • DrFerdowsi
    Posted at 10:26h, 16 September

    RT @michaelhallTM: Georgia Tech touts diversity of STEM students: Amid a push to attract more women and minorities to technical… http://t…