KnowlesLogoKnowles Corp (NYSE: KN), Itasca, Ill, has committed $100,000 to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Engineering to support female engineering students. Knowles, a Chicago company and a market leader and global supplier of advanced micro-acoustic solutions and specialty components for the hearing industry and other sectors, says it is promoting gender diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs—which is vital as interest in these subjects among female students continues to lag. A recent study showed that female students are 3 times less likely than males to pursue an engineering or STEM-related career.

Knowles’ donation supports UIC’s ability to develop and launch its women in engineering summer program, a multi-week intensive summer program designed for junior and senior level high school students with strong science and math skills. The program is scheduled to launch in 2015.  The donation will also support UIC’s women in engineering scholarship program.

“As a technology pioneer, STEM disciplines are at the heart of our business and an integral part of the future of communication technology,” said Knowles President and CEO Jeffrey Niew. “The importance of the STEM disciplines to our business and the growth of our economy is ever-growing. Our collaboration with the UIC College of Engineering is a natural way for us to support the development of young women and the skills needed to have a rewarding career.”

“Our mission is to ensure that groups underrepresented in STEM have the opportunity to achieve their highest educational goals and realize both personal and professional success,” says Peter Nelson, dean of UIC’s College of Engineering. “Knowles’ generosity will significantly help strengthen the College’s efforts to provide access to the engineering field for women.”

The $100,000 donation will help fund:

  • Women in Engineering Summer Program: The UIC Women in Engineering Summer Program will expose junior and senior level high school students to various fields in engineering.  The coursework will focus on engineering concepts, robotics, and spatial competencies.
  • Scholarships:  The donation will support scholarships for high-achieving incoming female freshman STEM students as part of a UIC women in engineering scholarship program. In addition to the new-student scholarship, each year five student members of the Society of Women in Engineering will receive a one-time scholarship of $2,000 each.

Beyond the financial commitment to UIC, Knowles and the College are exploring opportunities for Knowles’ engineers to help shape a curriculum and present engineering topics to the Women in Engineering Summer Program students. Niew is a member of the College’s Advisory Board and has mentored and spoken with UIC engineering students on several occasions. Knowles engineers and employees frequently speak to university students across the Midwest about engineering and potential careers paths.

Source: Knowles Corp