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Engineering Dean Receives Harriet Tubman Award

Recognized for her commitment to creating engineering pathways for underrepresented student populations, Stephanie Adams, dean of the Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University, recently received the Harriet Tubman Award.

Presented annually by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the award recognizes one individual among the more than 350 accredited engineering schools in the United States for "advancing women of color in academic engineering."

Adams is the first woman, and first minority, to serve as an engineering dean at Old Dominion University.

"Only 0.5 percent of the nearly 28,000 engineering faculty in the U.S. are black women," Adams said. "What that means is, in the words of Gandhi, 'we must be the change we want to see.' If we want to see a shift among women in engineering, we need to acknowledge that, just like in Hollywood, we must start doing some things differently."

Adams received the honor at ASEE's 125th annual conference, where she was also named president-elect of the 12,000-member society. She will fill that role for one year before serving as president for a year.

"My father introduced me to ASEE in the 1980s when I was in high school, so the society been an important part of my life for a long time," Adams said. "As engineering education continues to grow as a discipline, and considerable thought is being put into how we recruit, retain and develop the engineers of tomorrow, the significant role ASEE plays will continue to grow as well. I'm honored to serve as president and continue leading the society's efforts."

Adams is an honor graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. She received a master's degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia in 1991 and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M University in 1998.

"I am not only committed to advancing women in engineering during my term in 2018-19," Adams said. "But I look forward to the impact my involvement in ASEE will make in terms of raising the profile of engineering at ODU as well as the visibility of our robust network of regional and national partners."

ASEE is a global society of individual, institutional and corporate members founded in 1893. ASEE is the pre-eminent authority on the education of engineering professionals, advancing innovation, excellence and access at all levels of education for the engineering profession.

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