Westminster College ranks first in the nation as the "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)," according to rankings released today by Forbes.com.
Forbes contrasted Westminster's rural setting in New Wilmington, Pennsylania's Amish country with its national leadership role in producing exceptional female graduates in the STEM fields. The article and rankings can be found at http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/10/best-colleges-minorities-women-science-lifestyle-education-stem.html
"I think our success in recruiting women into STEM is a result of prospective students interacting with successful women faculty and seeing lots of women students in the science classrooms and labs," said Dr. Helen Boylan, associate professor of chemistry and Westminster alumna.
Westminster's math and computer science department is 50% female, while the national average is below 15%, according to a study done by the National Science Foundation. Forbes noted 36% of Westminster's 2008 graduating class received their degrees in STEM fields and unusually, more of those STEM graduates were women than men.
"First we tackled the issue of which schools are best for women in STEM disciplines," according to Forbes. "We began by assuming that women studying science want to attend a school that's good at teaching science, not just good at teaching women. So we took all 400 schools in Forbes' ranking of America's Best Colleges and eliminated those where overall STEM populations were extremely small, and where men obtained STEM degrees at very low rates.
"Then we ranked the remaining schools based on how closely they approached an ideal where STEM classrooms look like the school overall; in other words, if a school's student body is 60% female and 40% male, a 20-person engineering class should have 12 female students and eight male. The results? Pennsylvania's Westminster College came in first place."
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 378 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.
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