Mentoring program for female engineering students debuts

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has begun a peer mentoring program to help young women aspiring to become engineers transition from high school through the first year of college.

The program, called FIRST (Female Initiatives: Reaching Success Together), is funded by a grant from Boeing. It provides tutoring in math and physics, special activities, and mentoring to better ensure students’ success.

Some 50 students and eight faculty and staff are part of the FIRST program’s initial class, begun in September, according to Cindy Oakley-Paulik, the program’s creator and director of Embry-Riddle’s Women’s Center. Freshmen students meet with their upper-class mentors several times a month in one-on-one and group settings to address a variety of issues – from registration help and tutoring, to persistence and life-coaching, to help them acclimate to university life.

Plans to expand the program to freshmen women majoring in aviation science (professional pilot) are in the works for the Fall 2009 semester, according to Oakley-Paulik.

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