Montana State University
Archived Spotlight story

Retaining Female Students in Technical Education

By Donna Milgram

When I first envisioned the online community of, I imagined women assisting each other through trying times such as being the only woman in a class or on a job. Individuals instructors and counselors can only do so much. I also believed that the 24-hour nature of the internet would help women and girls get immediate support before they decided to drop out or quit.

Last week a member of WomenTech Talk posted an email about the difficulty of being the only woman in her auto tech program in her small town. She's a single parent, 34, and needs to succeed to support her 3 children. She realizes that she is starting out with less knowledge about cars than the men in the program. She's worried no one will hire her when she graduates and she sometimes wonders "what in the world" she's doing in the program.

Within a couple of hours six women responded with words of support and their own similar stories starting out and two more responded the next day. Many shared practical tips and advice. All urged her to stay the course. She wrote back to say "Thank You all, I would like to thank you all for your wonderful responses. It gave me a shot in the arm to keep moving forward. Now I know I am truly not alone as I thought I was. I hope more woman find this group so they to can have a place to connect with other women and not feel alone either."

Please let your students know about WomenTechTalk and She could have been someone from your school. Our WomenTech Talk listserv has over 250 members. I'd like it to have 1000 by the end of 2004. We really need your help to make this happen. Please forward the below link to WomenTech Talk to your students. No women or girl should ever have to go it alone anymore.

Our 19th National WomenTech Educators Workshop in 2004 is scheduled for historical Philadelphia at the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia. The hotel is within a short walking distance to Reading Terminal Market, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Chinatown, Business District, theaters and shopping. Reading Terminal Market, a wonderful multi-cultural market with inexpensive restaurants, bakeries, food and art vendors is directly across the street from the hotel. Hotel cut-off date for the special rate is Jan 29th!

We have just three spaces left for our upcoming workshop in CA on Feb 12 & 13.

Here's the link for our training:


Donna Milgram, Executive Director

Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science
1150 Ballena Blvd, Suite 102
Alameda, CA 94501
510-749-0200 ext. 101 (phone)
510-749-0500 (fax)

WomenTechWorld.Org is the national on-line home for women technicians. Read inspiring role model stories, join WomenTech Talk ListServ, visit our e-Jobs page, it's a WomenTech World.