Jalonda Thompson, director of the college’s Women in Engineering Programs, delivered two presentations at the 2022 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD, or “connected”) conference February 20–23, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Thompson presented “Creating Pathways for Success and Engagement for Women in Engineering.” She co-authored the paper with a team of Tickle College of Engineering leaders: Anne Skutnik, director of TCE Student Success; Jamie Coble, Southern Company Faculty Fellow and associate professor in nuclear engineering; Angel Palomino, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering; Anahita Khojandi, associate professor in industrial and systems engineering; Veerle Keppens, Chancellor’s Professor and department head in materials science and engineering; and Associate Dean Ozlem Kilic.
Thompson also joined Engineering Vol Isabel Boyd, a sophomore in biomedical engineering, to present “Bridging the STEM Gender Gap through Women-focused Outreach,” which the two co-authored with Skutnik and UT English professor Marcel Brouwers.
Thompson took the opportunity to introduce the diverse gathering of engineering and computing professionals to the college’s new Women in Engineering Program.
“My goal was to ensure the world knew that the Tickle College of Engineering is committed to advancing women in engineering,” she said. “Through our two presentations, we showcased how the college seeks to understand factors that influence undergraduate women’s pursuit and persistence in engineering and leverage that knowledge to create better, more supportive pathways for women in engineering, from K-12 through college.”
Her message spoke directly to the CoNECD conference mission to provide a forum for exploring ways to enhance diversity and inclusion of all underrepresented populations in the engineering and computing professions. This includes gender identity and expression, race and ethnicity, disability, veterans, LGBTQ+, first generation, and socio-economic status.
In her directorship role, Thompson looks ahead toward establishing partnerships, on campus or off, with groups like CoNECD, to increase the number of women in engineering.
“As a black female with a STEM background, I am interested in learning how to best support the intersection of identities present among our college’s women in engineering students,” she said. “I came away from the conference with new perspectives on how to provide inclusive and holistic support for women in engineering.”
Thompson expressed particular thanks to the Tickle College of Engineering itself and the HR Diversity Professional Fund Committee for the generous support given to present at CoNECD.