Abstract for Lunchtime Talk IEEE EMBS Annual Meeting, July 2019

July 3, 2019

Don’t miss the following talk at EMBC 2019!

Women in Engineering… Transforming an Oxymoron to a Redundancy

Dr. Gretchen Fougere

How can we make “Women in Engineering” a redundancy, instead of an oxymoron? Research shows that diverse teams create solutions with greater impact on society and on the bottom-line. In order for our workforce to participate fully and enjoy sustained career success, employees will need to be confident and competent with technology even if they are not the innovators. Diversity of thought, experience, and skillsets positively affects individuals, their work, and their livelihood. Dr. Gretchen Fougere will share stories and evidence from the field about how women and those who are underrepresented in engineering can thrive. Dr. Fougere has 20+ years of leadership experience split between industry and education, as a Dean of Outreach & Diversity at Boston University and as a member of the management team at the Museum of Science, Boston. She will draw upon her experience in technical fields, in higher education and in nonprofit settings. She will share insight from her own trajectory: graduating from an urban high school to becoming a nanotechnology researcher and ultimately, a builder of STEM programs. She will share how promoting engineering to diverse audiences is mutually beneficial to the promoters as well as their audience who seek to understand the innovation process and potentially pursue technical careers. How can we ensure that our current and future students see engineering as we do: a foundation to create that technologly-enabled solutions that improve the collective health, well-being, and financial security? Finally, Dr. Fougere will provide suggestions for aspiring educators and researchers interested in being mentors, allies, and change agents in their academic and professional roles.


Dr. Gretchen Fougere is an inventor, technology leader, and educator. She has spent her career engaging people of all backgrounds to understand how engineering and design can enhance their lives. She founded STEM Leadership Advisors to partner with nonprofit and higher education organizations committed to expanding STEM reach and impact. She was elected Vice Chair of the Board of the Science Club for Girls.

Dr. Fougere has had dual careers in education and technology development. In education, she was the inaugural Associate Dean of Outreach and Diversity in the College of Engineering at Boston University. Over the 6+ years, she launched and spearheaded a nationally-impactful initiative called the Technology Innovation Scholars Program, where a cadre of highly-trained engineering undergraduates engaged secondary students in hands-on engineering challenges, reaching over 17,600 students. She partnered with funders, such as AT&T, NASA, Accenture, Genzyme, and the National Science Foundation, and created inquiry-based STEM programs that inspired and challenged diverse students with a variety of learning styles, often in underrepresented and underserved communities. The Massachusetts high tech community recognized Fougere as a Mass Tech Woman to Watch and Carnegie Corporation/100kin10 appointed her a Fellow. She advised the Society of Women Engineers and Graduate Women in Engineering and Science. She actively collaborated with the Engineering and Education Faculty at BU and beyond and secured over $25M in grant funding. Additionally, she was a senior leader at The Possible Project, and at the ground-breaking Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program at the Museum of Science where she worked on partnerships, curricula and professional development.

Dr. Fougere also has a decade of technical and managerial experience in technology innovation. Her industrial experience includes leading a 20+ person, advanced Research and Development organization at Duracell and developing technical products and new business in high tech (Motorola) and aerospace (Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines) sectors. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in the field of Nanotechnology from Northwestern University and was elected to Sigma Xi. Her research was conducted at the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. She received bachelor’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. She holds three US patents.

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