Caitilyn Allen
The dearth of women in science and engineering has spawned programs on college campuses to redress the balance and encourage women to stay in science. According to the National Science Foundation,1 a little more than 22 percent of the scientists and engineers in the United States in 1995 (the date of the most recent figures) were women. Though women make up about half of the social scientists, they are noticeably underrepresented among the "hard sciences." The NSF reports that 20 percent of the physical scientists, 9 percent of engineers, 40 percent of biological scientists, and about 33 percent of mathematicians were women.

One attempt to boost these numbers involves housing female science majors together for at least their freshman year on college campuses. The rationale is simple and straightforward. "Give them a built-in and easily accessible group of peers for support," says Caitilyn Allen, assistant professor...

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