Spoke at the United Nations on Women in Engineering

Today I had the honor of speaking at the United Nations for a session on women in engineering and empowerment for a UNESCO-sponsored side event of the Committee on the Status of Women.  This event comes on the same day that I received notification that I will be the incoming Vice President of Initiatives (Interim) for the Latin and Caribbean Consortium for Engineering Institutions (LACCEI).

I was able to discuss NSF’s engineering statistics, The Jessica Effect [AAC&U Peer Review article on The Jessica Effect, PROMISE AGEP declaration of “The Jessica Effect”], NSBE (#BlackSTEMLikeMe Campaign), SHPE, AISES, LACCEI, and UMBC (About PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP: Thank you to UNESCO for the invitation to speak, advocate, and serve.

Here are some photos.



Excerpts from my remarks:

  • The numbers of women in engineering are low: undergraduate enrollment: 19.2%, graduates (B.S.) 19.8%. Numbers for women engineering students from underrepresented groups are even lower: 3.6% of enrollees.
  • Women are role models and encouragers. They have the “power to empower.”
  • Women, particularly diverse women, need to become professors to teach and empower new generations of women in engineering.
  • Women in the professoriate can change attitudes about who can become an engineer.
  • Women engineering professors from ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the discipline only comprise 1.4% of all engineering professors in the U.S.
  • We must continue to nurture male champions.
  • We have to think about the whole picture: respect in the lab, family and career-life balance, and provide opportunities to foster inclusive excellence.

[Data references:, percentages refer to U.S. citizens and permanent residents at 4-year colleges.]

In the photo above, I am holding a book — an OMOT empowerment journal —  that was given to me by Dr. Christine Grant (@DrGrantEmpowers) several years ago. It has become my “goals and dreams” book.


In the photos below, I am with WomEng during today’s launch of the #1MillionGirlsInSTEM campaign at the UN. They started in South Africa, and have a goal to increase the number of girls in STEM throughout the world. We were both listed in the Global Engineering Deans Council/ Airbus Diversity award ‘Top 10’ during the World Engineering Education Forum in Italy in 2015. The founders are social entrepreneurs and expanding the image of engineers for both girls and boys. #ThinkPink


Invitation Letter and Agenda

(Certain information has been intentionally blacked out/removed for security/privacy):

Invitation Letter CSW side event1 blocked out contact info

Scenario for CSW side event engineering AGENDA cropped

Outdoors, on the way out …




Categories: All

3 replies »

  1. Thank You Dr. Renetta for sharing Your Impressive Expertise with Thousands!!!! CONGRATULATIONS on Your Many Extraordinary Accomplishments!!! You are living Your Dreams Abundantly!! By the way, YOU look Fabulous! We LOVE You!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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