October 12, 2001

Interest in MentorNet Lagging From 2000

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With a deadline for participation steadily approaching, interest in MentorNet seems relatively low this year, according to the assistant director of the Minority & Women’s Programs Student Success Center in the College of Engineering.

MentorNet, an electronic mentoring program established for female engineering students, matches graduate and undergraduate students with professional engineers. Through this program, funded through large corporations such as AT&T Foundation, IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Texaco, students regularly correspond with their mentors via the internet.

“The electronic mentor relationship is kind of like having a very powerful pen pal. That professional engineer who has volunteered to be of service to students is willing and able to answer all sorts of questions,” said R.J. Burt, the assistant director of the program.

MentorNet aims to provide female engineering students with the motivation and a sense of perspective to pursue their interest in science and achieve similar professional success.

“[The engineering curriculum] is a lot of work. It’s a lot of class time. It’s a lot of out of class work,” said Dana Cohen ’04.

In past years, Cornell has boasted a high participation among female engineering students. With recent years’ participation as high as 100 students, the Minority & Women’s Programs Student Success Center hopes to attract as many students as possible this year.

“I’d like to see lots and lots of students sign up before the Oct. 31 deadline,” Burt said.

The women’s engineering center team has been busy encouraging participation in the program, handing out MentorNet literature and urging engineering faculty to promote the mentoring opportunity.

“The professional world is wide open for women in engineering