Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) will attempt to increase female enrollment and help women pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by providing scholarships, according to a press release.
The school received a $100,000 gift from Turner Construction Company for that purpose.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 academic year, the fund will financially assist up to eight juniors and seniors and at least two first-year students or sophomores. Preference will be given to female students majoring in architecture, civil engineering, construction management, electrical engineering, electromechanical engineering, or mechanical engineering.
“Ultimately, this new scholarship fund and our other programs will help these students develop academic, technical, and other 21st century skills that can enrich their professional lives,” said Zorica Pantic, president of WIT, according to the press release.
Turner Construction has also agreed to provide paid co-op experiences for scholarship recipients.
Approximately 19 percent of 3,800 WIT’s 2014-15 undergraduates are female. The numbers echo across the country: women earn just 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and 19 percent in computer science; in the construction industry, just 8.9 percent of all workers are women, according to the press release.
“One proven way to increase the number of female scientists, engineers, and those who pursue careers in the construction industry is to provide them with financial assistance for their undergraduate studies,” said Pantic, the first female engineer to lead an institute of technology in the United States, according to the press release.