On February 11, 35 alumnae, faculty, and students attended a luncheon at UCLA hosted by Prof Abeer Alwan, EE Vice Chair for Undergraduate Studies.
This event was an opportunity for alumnae to connect with each other, meet some of our current female EE students, and learn about the progress made by the Department over the past year to increase the number of women in EE at UCLA.
Prof Greg Pottie, EE Department Chair, welcomed the attendees and described plans for a new Computer Engineering degree with classes in robotics, data science, and Internet of things. He also discussed the importance of increasing the number of women and underrepresented minority students in the Department, and that this is also a priority for Dean Jayathi Murthy for the whole School of Engineering.
Prof Alwan provided more details on how the Department is seeking and retaining more female and minority students. The Department has formed an Alumnae Advisory Committee, which has visited several high schools in the Los Angeles and Bay Areas to discuss the importance of pursuing a STEM degree in college, and an EE degree, in particular. Grace King, ’10 EE, Patent Attorney at Squire Patton Boggs, and Co-Chair of the EE Alumnae Advisory Committee, provided more information on the committee’s activities and the several visits to these high schools.
Several student leaders in the newly formed UCLA chapter of the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) called Women Advancing Technology through Teamwork (WATT) described the many activities of their group over the past year. These included social events, networking dinners with EE alumnae, technical presentations, and participation in the 30-hour IEEE Idea Hacks hardware hackathon in January. They also demonstrated their hackathon project, which was designed to help a dancer choreograph her dance moves accurately.
The feedback on the luncheon from the participants was very positive; and the Department plans to arrange the third annual luncheon next year.