Record-Breaking Freshman Class of Female Students Expected for 2016-17

Thursday, May 05, 2016

RHIT Future Abigail Etters 12412

Early enrollment statistics for the 2016-17 freshman class reveal that 172 females will be among the 565 incoming students, making up 30.4 percent of the group. This is 40 more female students than 2015-16, when women made up a then-record 24 percent of the freshman class.

"The new record-breaking number of female students enrolling to Rose-Hulman is a tribute to the institute's environment of excellence and these students seeing themselves being a perfect fit for our campus," says Jim Goecker, vice president for enrollment and strategic communications. "Young women are increasingly aware of the excellent career opportunities and lifestyles afforded by a STEM education. They also appreciate how STEM professions can make a significant difference in society."

Rose-Hulman made special efforts this year to increase female enrollment, including a "Future Faces of STEM" marketing campaign that showcased females majoring in science, engineering, and mathematics on campus. A group of female students formed the Women of Like Fields Passionate About Computing (WOLF PAC) organization, with the hopes of increasing female student populations in computer science, software engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. These efforts got an assist from a MarketWatch report that identified Rose-Hulman among colleges "where female STEM students flourish."

This fall, female students are expected to make up the following demographics of Rose-Hulman's 2016-17 freshman class:

  • An all-time high 34.6% of incoming computer science majors
  • A record 30.6% of physics, engineering physics, and optical engineering majors
  • 58% of biomedical engineering majors
  • 36% of chemical engineering majors

"I am so pleased that more female students are choosing to join us at Rose-Hulman," says Valerie Galluzzi, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering and adviser to the WOLF PAC group. "This year's enrollment statistics make me hopeful that we can look forward to the numbers getting even better in the future. These fall enrollments will put us above the national average for female students enrolled in several STEM fields at U.S. colleges and universities."

Nationally, women receive only 18.2 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded annually in computer science, 19.2 percent in engineering, and 19.1 percent in physics, according to a 2015 National Science Foundation report.