More than 50 engineering and computer science students attended the 12th Annual Women in Engineering and Computer Science Luncheon hosted by First Year Connections and dedicated to celebrating the new cohort of women students at the DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The event, which has doubled in size since it launched in 2007, is an opportunity for female first-year students to talk with their older peers about classroom experiences, career goals and strategies for success in competitive, male-dominated STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Mechanical engineering major Katherine Ramirez ‘19 attended the luncheon.
“As a female and a minority, pursuing a degree in engineering intimidated me,” Ramirez said. “Instead of getting discouraged, I found the motivation to keep pushing and prove to society that, despite labels and stereotypes, I’m able to succeed in a challenging and prestigious field.”
Dr. Gerda Kamberova, PhD, professor of computer science, described her experience as a woman in STEM and urged students to persevere even if they do not immediately excel.
“Women – more than men – believe that if they don’t get an ‘A’ in something, they’re not good at it,” Dr. Kamberova said. “But you shouldn’t get discouraged. If you love something like engineering or computer science, pursue it.”
Dr. Mauro Caputi, PhD, director of freshman engineering and associate professor of electrical engineering organizes the annual event.
“Every female student in engineering and computer science needs to know that there are other women on the same path,” said Dr. Caputi, PhD. “We want them to know that they can reach out to upper level students for support and guidance.”
Dr. Saryn Goldberg, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering, told students to take advantage of all of the resources that Hofstra offers including career counseling, faculty mentorship, and the DeMatteis Co-op Program to membership in on-campus organizations like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
“I’m happy that there are so many women in engineering here at Hofstra,” said mechanical engineering major Jerrika Spann ‘22. “I feel encouraged that I have the support of other women and feel like if I need help, I can reach out to them.”
Sina Rabbany, dean of the DeMatteis School, acknowledged that women face hurdles in the STEM fields.
“Remember two things – first, your gender does not define your performance or what tasks and jobs you are good at,” Dean Rabbany said. “And second, if someone says you can’t do it, put it in your mental shredder and continue your journey. It’s simply not true.”