School of Engineering Among Tops for Female Grads, Professors


MACON — The Mercer School of Engineering recently received national attention in two publications for its female-friendly atmosphere. The School is third in the nation for percentage of female students earning bachelor of science degrees in PRISM, the American Society for Engineering Education’s magazine. The School also ranked No. 18 in the country among engineering schools for percentage of women faculty tenured or on tenure-track by Connections, an ASSE electronic newsletter.

PRISM ranked schools based on the number of women who graduated with an engineering degree during the 2005-2006 academic year. Of that class year, 36.6 percent of the Mercer’s graduates were women. The data was compiled by the American Society for Engineering Education from a pool of 261 schools that awarded 50 or more bachelor of science degrees.

“The School of Engineering is proud of its outstanding record of enrolling and graduating women engineers and of hiring and retaining female faculty members,” said Dean M. Dayne Aldridge. “Our commitment to all students, whether they be male or female, attracts top quality students and faculty and we look forward to continuing this distinctive that has been part of our history.”

Alumnae, students and faculty say the School offers a supportive atmosphere for all engineering students regardless of gender and is an attractive learning and working environment to women for a variety of reasons.

“Mercer University School of Engineering provides an excellent education for all of its students,” said Jackie Smith Baxley, a 1998 Mercer environmental engineering graduate and president of the Engineering Alumni Board. “I think that women, in particular, are attracted to its program because Mercer can offer what larger engineering schools lack: a closer setting that fosters a deeper connection to faculty and staff.  Essentially, at Mercer, you are a person, not just a number.”

The size of the engineering school is attractive to all students, and in particular women, but the commitment to students fostered at Mercer is important to all students, notes Dr. Laura Moody, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

“The truth is that the characteristics of the School attract women and help them to succeed. Small, interactive classes and a focus on engaging students at all levels in the engineering design process, to name just two, are characteristics that attract and promote the success of all of our engineering students,” Moody said. “We are fortunate that Mercer’s culture of commitment to undergraduate education allows us to provide a high-quality engineering program that has at its core a commitment to student engagement and student success.”

Christina Yarborough, a mechanical engineering student in Mercer’s fifth-year master’s program, agrees.

“Mercer’s engineering program provides an atmosphere in which all students, whether male or female, find equal encouragement from the faculty and a feeling of camaraderie among fellow classmates,” Yarborough said. “I’ve had the opportunity to develop my own interests and pursue them through independent research.  My experiences in Mercer’s nurturing atmosphere and with the supportive faculty have inspired me to continue my engineering education and I will complete my master’s degree this spring.”

About Mercer University and the School of Engineering:
Named one of the top undergraduate engineering schools in the Southeast by U.S. News & World Report for the past nine years, the Mercer School of Engineering is known for producing graduates ready to work in theindustry and government. The School’s innovative curriculum emphasizes teamwork as well as opportunities to gain hands-on experiences. Mercer  engineering graduates are known for their strong communication skills, as Mercer is one of few engineering institutions in the nation to house a Technical Communication Department within the Engineering School.
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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