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One of the keys to the increasing number of women in the College of Engineering at UT is providing a welcoming environment to them on campus.

To that end, a “Welcome Back Celebration” is being held when students begin classes August 19.

Jessica Boles
Jessica Boles

Hosted by Systers: Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery, the event will provide fun, food, and information for new and returning students alike.

“The purpose of this event is to help foster a community in our department and to provide students with resources before the school year begins,” said Jessica Boles, a senior in electrical engineering and president of Systers at UT.

The mission of Systers is to “recruit, retain, and mentor women in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department” at the University of Tennessee.

For the fall semester, UT’s College of Engineering will be 22 percent female, up sharply from just a decade ago and even higher than the national average of 21 percent.

Having said that, the quest for diversity and inclusion is a never-ending one, and Boles said events like the welcome event and organizations like Systers, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers—all groups that are active at UT—help make that goal more attainable.

“While we’re proud of our mentoring of young women entering the department and the outreach we do for younger students in the community, it’s key to make sure that talented students have access to resources and opportunities, regardless of their gender,” said Boles.

As part of showing off the opportunities available at the college, the event will include:

  • Lab tours from students and faculty that showcase research opportunities
  • Demonstrations of technology, including from the IEEE robotics team
  • Booths from student organizations and examples of companies related to engineering
  • An introduction to HackUTK, a new student organization devoted to cybersecurity
  • A scavenger hunt, raffles, prizes, and pizza

The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. at the Min H. Kao Engineering Building, and concludes at 5:00 p.m.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,