The Engineering profession as a whole has struggled for some time in attracting and retaining people of diverse groups (i.e. women, minorities, and assorted ethnicity). Civil and environmental engineers have shared in this challenge to engage individuals with various backgrounds in the profession to improve, develop, and garner an in depth perspective for building a stronger team to address the problems of today and tomorrow. At the national and regional level, there is an ongoing debate about insuring inclusiveness while preserving uniqueness when it comes to the myriad demographics used to characterize the individuals within our profession. Furthermore, it has been realized that each person has individual issues that impact their academic performance and career development.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) established the Undergraduate Women Advisory Council (UWAC) to help identify the needs and concerns of individuals among the various groups in the department. This Council is a group of students representing different segments of the student population in CEE. The team of students working through the UWAC have diverse academic standing, academic class, gender, and ethnicity with representation on a central advisor group.
The undergraduate women accepting the invitation to serve on this Council understand the goal of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Women Advisory Council is to act as an intercessor between all of the students and faculty of Mississippi State University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. The group strives to assist both male and female students in cultivating an atmosphere of open communication concerning issues such as the organization, agenda, and overall tasks of the department, allowing each voice to be heard. Additionally, the CEE Undergraduate Women Advisory Council shall act as the personal advisory council of the department head and give support to his goals and plans for the department. Therefore, since its creation, the UWAC has taken on the responsibilities associated with attracting prospective students, increasing engagement both academically and socially, and providing a student’s perspective for the programs and activities of the department.