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Dean Eddy Rojas Wins National Award for Supporting Women in Engineering

By Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications

The Women in Engineering ProActive Network awarded University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean Eddy Rojas its Advocates and Allies award for his leadership in implementing programs that advocate, mentor and support the success of women in engineering.

WEPAN presented the award last month at its annual conference held in conjunction with the annual Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference in Crystal City, Virginia.

Since joining the University as dean in 2014, Rojas has created a Diversity Engineering Center, which is home to the school's Women in Engineering, Minority Engineering and International Student programs. Two-thirds of new faculty hires have been women or minorities. More than a quarter of incoming students are women and nearly a fifth are minorities; both are records. Women now comprise a third of the school's leadership council, formerly an all-male group. When the 2019-20 academic year begins, the school will have its first female department chair.

"Dr. Rojas’ efforts haven’t stopped at the hiring of female personnel, as he puts extensive time, effort and resources into the professional development of his faculty, thereby providing every opportunity for success," said Kristen Comfort, who will take over as the chemical engineering department chair July 1.

In addition to these academic and program initiatives, Rojas also has made substantive changes in the school's home, Kettering Labs. He provided financial support to create a lactation room and changed restroom spaces to provide more equitable access to these facilities for female faculty, staff and students.

"Dean Rojas has been instrumental in bringing (WEPAN's) Advocates and Allies program to UD’s campus as one way to empower men to positively affect the climate for their female colleagues," said Lisa Borello, director of the University of Dayton's Women's Center. "In our pilot offering of the program this spring — renamed locally as UD Men for Gender Equity — we had more than 100 men across campus attend, due in large part to Dean Rojas’ outreach to his fellow administrators, engineering faculty and colleagues in the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). With his public support and intentional outreach, Dean Rojas is sending a powerful message to his male peers about his commitment to gender equity."

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at srobinson1@udayton.edu or 937-229-3391.

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