Female E-Mail Connects WPI Students/Alums

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.-Technology is making it possible for female members of WPI's Class of 2001 to get to know the university from a woman's perspective and, in the process, to form connections and friendships that will guide them through their undergraduate careers and into the future.

Participants in the Alumna/Student E-mail Mentoring Project will be linked together via e- mail to discuss whatever they wish: from choosing a major or finding a summer or full-time job, to learning about the challenges of balancing their personal and professional lives. The university's first female student graduated in 1972; 163 women are expected to enroll in the Class of 2001, out of a total of 690 incoming freshmen.

The seeds for the innovative program were planted last spring, when President Edward A. Parrish established a Committee on the Status of Women whose members were charged with providing leadership in issues and activities involving all women. The Alumni Association responded to that charge by developing a proposal for the mentoring project. "This is an excellent way for us to augment the efforts of our women faculty members to make technological studies attractive to female students," says Parrish. "Networking is important to our retention efforts and these alumnae will be an asset for WPI."

In March, alumnae and incoming women received invitations to participate in theprogram. All were asked to make at least a one-year commitment. "The project is a great way to connect with your alma mater while helping a current undergraduate establish herself in a new institution," wrote Major Gifts Officer Sharon Davis, WPI's former director of alumni affairs. "Undergraduate women welcome the opportunity to connect with successful women alumnae and we hope you will find the program a wonderful way to make a difference in a young person's life."

WPI is an independent technological university founded in 1865.