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Harvey Mudd College Makes School History Awarding Majority Of Engineering Degrees To Women

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HARVEY MUDD ENGINEERING
Engineering Professor Liz Orwin (left) works with students on developing a tissue-engineered cornea in her bioengineering lab at Harvey Mudd College. (Photo courtesy of Harvey Mudd College) | Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College made school history this week when it awarded more engineering degrees to women than men at its commencement ceremony Sunday.

Harvey Mudd, a renowned school for engineering Claremont, Calif., said 56 percent of its graduating engineering class were female.

The percentage of women graduating overall, including all majors, in the class of 2014 was 49 percent.

Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe has made a concentrated effort to raise the number of women studying STEM fields since she took over at the school in 2006. Klawe was the first woman to lead the college in its six decade history.

Elizabeth Orwin, professor of engineering and incoming chair of the engineering department, said she attributes part of the school's success in this area to having more female faculty.

"Harvey Mudd has a high percentage of women faculty in the engineering department, so female students have more role models and examples of different pathways through engineering," Orwin said in a statement. "We also have a significant number of experiential learning opportunities which instill confidence early on in our students, which I think is particularly impactful for our women students."

Overall, the college's gender breakdown is 42 percent women and 58 percent men.