About AWE


Dr. Susan DavidsonAs a child and teenager, I loved to design and make things: clothes, lamps, tree houses… the medium was not as important as the sheer joy of seeing something that I created be used. I also enjoyed math, science, and solving puzzles. However, I knew very little about what engineering was. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the activities I loved were the essence of engineering!

Engineers are innovators and problem solvers. We design products and tools that improve people’s lives and extend the boundaries of what they can do: Computers, MP3 players, mobile phones, social networking environments, animations, roller coasters, space shuttles, Mars Rovers, prosthetic devices, artificial tissues, miniaturized drug delivery systems, $2500 cars, light emitting diodes for traffic lights, fabrics for bulletproof vests, and fabrics that breathe for active wear (to name just a few). We help make the world a better place by finding alternate energy sources and designing highly fuel efficient cars to combat global warming.We also communicate, negotiate, and are always learning new things as we work with people across a variety of fields.

Since engineering is not typically taught in middle or high school, many students — like me (many years ago) — do not understand what it is about, and therefore they hesitate to pursue it in college. This hesitancy is especially common for female students, given the historically low numbers of women in engineering. At Penn, we have therefore developed the Advancing Women in Engineering (AWE) program to share our excitement with students like you and to encourage women to pursue engineering, a discipline that turns science — math, chemistry, physics, and biology — into reality. We are committed to developing and supporting initiatives to increase awareness of and interest in engineering, to enhance the overall academic experience of our female students, and to create social and networking opportunities for women in engineering.

There’s a new face to engineering. Whether you are drawn to Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Computer and Information Science, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, come join us to turn ideas into reality!

Weiss Professor, Computer and Information Science Chair, Advancing Women in Engineering

What is AWE?

The Advancing Women in Engineering (AWE) Program is dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and promoting women in Penn Engineering. Since AWE is new as of Fall 2007, we have only just begun our work but our goals are to:

  • Develop and support initiatives to increase the number of women interested in studying engineering at Penn and elsewhere.
  • Enhance the overall academic experience of female students in Penn Engineering via targeted curricular development and increased research and professional opportunities.
  • Create and support social and networking opportunities for women in engineering.

AWE provides opportunities for:

  • Getting to know other women in engineering students
  • Networking with professional and alumnae engineers
  • Personal and professional development
  • Roundtable discussions, panels, and guest speakers
  • Mentoring