Both sexes prove scientific

by Amanda McElfresh, U-wire

(U-WIRE) BATON ROUGE, La. – Although national data indicates thenumber of female students in scientific majors is significantlylower than the number of male students, Louisiana State Universityofficials say female students are well-represented in Universitydepartments.

According to information from the College Board and the NationalScience Foundation, female students nationwide represent less thanhalf of the total number of students pursuing degrees in scientificfields, including engineering and physical science.

However, LSU officials said the numbers of male and femalestudents in science fields at LSU are nearly equal.

College of Engineering Associate Dean Mehmet Tumay said thecollege is doing everything possible to help recruit femalestudents, and the number of female students in the college hassteadily increased in recent years.

Tumay said since 1998, the number of female students in thecollege has continually risen, even as overall enrollment numbersfor the college have decreased.

Tumay said the enrollment numbers are one “good indicator” thatfemale students are more “on par” with male students in thefield.

In addition, Tumay said another good indicator of femalepresence in the college is that more female students are receivingassistantships and fellowships in engineering.

Linda Allen, the undergraduate adviser for the Department ofChemistry, said the number of male and female students in thedepartment is about equal.

Allen said the department does not do anything specific torecruit female students to chemistry, because the department is notseeing any disadvantages toward female students.

Also, Allen said female students in the department remaincompetitive with male students, and female students have won moretop awards in chemistry than male students.

Martha Cedotal, assistant dean of the College of Basic Sciences,said the ratio of female to male students is virtually equal.

Cedotal said that for the current semester, 49.25 percent ofstudents in the college are female, and 50.74 percent are male.

Cedotal said the numbers have been similar for the past fewyears.

In addition, Cedotal said female students are performing just aswell as male students within the college.

Cedotal said out of 21 students from the college who wereUniversity medallists for the 2002-2003 academic year, 10 were maleand 11 were female.

“Our female students are performing just as beautifully as themale students,” Cedotal said.

College of Basic Sciences Interim Dean Kevin Carman said thesenumbers indicate female students are increasingly competitive withmale students in scientific areas.

“Clearly, any lingering stereotypes that women cannot competewith men in the field of science are pure fiction,” Carmansaid.