Women in MechSE

Women in MechSE

For many decades, MechSE has made an impact on the world through fundamental contributions to mechanical engineering. And our department today may have more talent than ever before in our rich history of excellence. The stage right now is filled with shining stars—many of them women.

More and more talented women are fueling the field of engineering with a wide array of research and innovations that impact society every day. In MechSE, some of them are even bringing us into the national and international spotlight. The features on our women undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and alumni represent just a small fraction of their inspiring achievements.

We invite you to learn more about MechSE's welcoming and inclusive environment—one where everyone is given the opportunity to succeed. 

Message from the Dean

“As one of the largest and best Colleges of Engineering in the world, we have a duty to increase the diversity of engineering and science. The future success of our college and of the solutions that our engineers build both depend on creating vibrant teams of individuals from different personal, cultural, and disciplinary perspectives. To this end, for example, we have increased the number of female undergraduate students entering our college by more than 25 percent in the last two years alone. And fully half of 2014’s group of new faculty was made up of women. There is more work to be done. We have not reached parity in our college or in our field. But we have made a clear and powerful commitment to diversity. We are confident that the benefits of that commitment will be seen for decades to come, in the work we do and the engineers we educate.”

   -  Andreas Cangellaris, Dean of the College of Engineering

Social Media Matters

#ilooklikeanengineerThe tech and engineering industries have long seen a lack of diversity among the people who run and work in those companies. Underrepresented minorities, including women, historically have not been encouraged to enter STEM fields. But that’s starting to change, thanks in part to the influence of social media.

In 2016, a young woman engineer was featured in a recruiting ad for her San Francisco-area tech company. What resulted was a backlash against her and her employer for featuring a woman who didn’t fit the common (sexist) perceptions of engineers. She immediately launched a hashtag on Twitter to challenge these misperceptions. “This industry’s culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mold,” said Isis Wenger, the engineer. #ILookLikeAnEngineer went viral, with women engineers around the world sharing their stories to promote awareness.

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls,” an organization and social media presence co-founded by the actress and directed at young women, uses humor, blogs, videos, and games to emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” 


What Can You Achieve in Engineering at Illinois?