From the Chair
In celebration of Women’s History Month, I want to spotlight a significant positive trend over the history of our department, and our aspirations for continued improvement and growth.
The first women graduated from our department in 1977, and when I joined the faculty 22 years ago, we regretfully had exactly zero tenure-stream women faculty. Today, our biosystems engineering undergraduate program enrollment is now greater than 50% women, which is a point of pride relative to the overall national enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs (only about 21%). Our tenure-stream faculty is now 31% women, better than the national average of approximately 20% across all engineering programs. However, we are committed to a future that continues to advance a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in our department – a community that aspires to promote the success of all our students, staff, and faculty.
In addition to the regular highlights of our exciting work in food, energy, environment, and health, this newsletter features a story on three of our women faculty members who are making a difference in global health through their research in rapid diagnostics for global diseases, diet and chronic disease, and water and public health risks. These are just a few examples of the incredibly impactful research, education, and outreach efforts that our faculty members are leading to advance our mission of improving quality of life. Our students are doing the same, and some of their amazing work and aspirations are also highlighted in this newsletter.
I can’t help but be optimistic about our future and confident in the positive impact that our students will have on our world as they venture into their professional lives. Our role in helping prepare them for that success is both a serious responsibility and a profound privilege, and we remain dedicated to continuously improving and growing our programs to maximize our collective success and impact.
Please feel free to drop me a note anytime if you want to connect or discuss ideas or opportunities to engage.