Creating a culture of success for women in engineering and science

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The ADVANCEing Faculty Project Team consists of Project PI Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter, Project co-PI Dr. Despina Davis, Project co-PI Dr. Patrick O'Neal, all at Louisiana Tech University, along with SCCT Expert Dr. Lori Bakken from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and evaluation experts Ginger Fitzhugh and Vicky Ragan of Evaluation and Research Associates.

Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter Dr. Jenna P. Carpenter is Associate Dean of Administration and Strategic Initiatives, Wayne and Juanita Spinks Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Office for Women in Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University.  She has been on the faculty for 21 years and enjoys teaching honors engineering calculus.  She serves as the Women-In-Engineering Member-At-Large on the Board of Directors for WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network); as the Professional Council III Chair on the Board of Directors for ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education); and on the National Advisory Panel for SWE's (Society for Women Engineers) Assessing Women in Engineering Project.  Her research interests include women in STEM, integrated STEM curricula and STEM education.


Despina Davis Dr. Despina Davis is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and a Research Associate at the Institute for Micromanufacturing at Louisiana Tech University.  She has been on the faculty for 3 years teaching both undergraduate courses (such as reactor design) and graduate level courses (like corrosion engineering). Dr. Davis' research is focused on electrodeposition and testing of nanostructured magnetic and thermoelectric materials.  Her research group is concentrating on optimizing the electrochemical processes for the development of new materials and their applications. Current research interests include the understanding of magnetic alloy codeposition, nanometric multilayered nanowires and nanotubes, and GMR and Seebeck coefficient measurements of electrodeposited nanostructures.  Aside from teaching and research, Dr. Davis is involved in guiding and inspiring female graduate and undergraduate engineering students.

Patrick O'Neal Dr. Patrick O'Neal is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. Prior to moving to academia in 2005, he led several Nanomedicine-based development projects while serving as PI on numerous NSF (SBIR), NIH (STTR), and NIST (ATP) funded industry projects. With a research focus in biomedical optics, he has published peer-reviewed articles in a variety of subjects including basic cancer research, biomedical electro-optics instrumentation, clinical cancer therapies, and mathematical techniques for dealing with complex biological data sets.  His current teaching responsibilities include Biomedical Engineering senior design in which 25 - 50% of the students each year are women.  Based on his experiences in courses like these and his previous experience in the medical device industry, he has developed a strong interest in optimizing gender interactions and productivity in engineering projects.


Laurie Bakken Dr. Laurie L. Bakken, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine; Affiliate Faculty, Education Leadership and Policy Analysis, School of Education; Co-Director, Clinical Investigator Preparatory Program; University of Wisconsin-Madison, is supervising application of social cognitive career theory (SCCT) to the ADVANCEing Faculty Program.  She has collaborated with Angela Byars-Winston to understand the retention of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, particularly engineering, and has also studied stimulating and sustaining research interests for women and underrepresented minorities, along with assessing and enhancing self-efficacy for women and underrepresented minorities.


Ginger Fitzhugh Ginger Fitzhugh, Senior Evaluation and Research Associate, and    Vicky Ragan Vicky Ragan, Ed. D., Director of Evaluation and Research Associates, are serving as the evaluation team for the ADVANCEing Faculty Program.  They bring extensive research and evaluation experience with National Science Foundation projects (including ITEST, Science Journalism Pathways, TechREACH, Gender and Science Equity - Extension Services, and nation-wide projects such as National Girls Collaborative Project and CalWomenTech) to this effort.  They have also worked with community-based organizations, school districts, educational service districts and not-for-profit foundations.  In particular, they have specific expertise in diversity and equity, as well as evaluation of professional development initiatives and informal learning programs.