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$360,000 Schmidlapp Grant to enhance opportunities for women in engineering at Miami

Miami has received a $360,000 grant from Fifth Third Bank, as trustee of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Trust, to help nurture women in the field of engineering.

The Schmidlapp grant will be used by Miami's School of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) for two programs: $250,000 to benefit an endowment enabling the creation of four to six Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Women Scholars in Engineering scholarships annually; and $110,000 to create an endowment for co-curricular activities to be used for recruitment and retention of female engineering students at Miami. These co-curricular activities may include:

o Design projects that have historically proven to be of great interest to female engineers such as those that deal with the environment, service to society and the disabled. The projects will demonstrate the humanistic and service-oriented aspect of engineering.

o A women-in-residence scholars program that will include specialists in specific advanced technologies and methods. These specialists will spend a week on campus working with students on special projects. The female scholars will create an environment to expose all students to women role models in engineering fields.

o A pre-college knowledge of engineering program dedicated to K-12 teachers and high-school female students to teach them about the field of engineering. Projects will engage them in concepts related to engineering to give students a clear idea about the engineering profession in general and engineering majors at Miami in particular.

“According to the 2001 Survey of the American Society for Engineering Education, women earned just 21.2 percent of the bachelor's degrees in 1999; by 2002, the number had remained relatively unchanged,” said Marek Dollár, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Miami's School of Engineering and Applied Science is dedicated to recruiting and retaining greater numbers of female engineering students. This vital support enables us to move closer to that goal and will make an immediate impact in the lives of our engineering scholarship recipients.”

“The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund is dedicated to enriching the lives of women. By supporting a nationwide initiative to increase the number of women studying the field of engineering at a local university, the fund is able to make a significant difference in the lives of many female students, the dividends of which will be known well into the future,” said Heidi B. Jark, vice president and manager at the Foundation office at Fifth Third Bank.

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was established in 1908 by Jacob G. Schmidlapp, president of the Union Savings Bank, which merged with Fifth Third Bank in 1919. Schmidlapp had already lost his wife, his mother and one daughter in a train wreck when, in 1907, he and his remaining daughter, Charlotte, were touring France to celebrate her graduation. On that trip, Charlotte was killed in an automobile accident. Schmidlapp channeled his grief into the creation of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund to allow other young women to, unlike his daughters, realize their lives' dreams.

Fifth Third Bank has managed private trusts and foundations for more than 100 years and today contributes to hundreds of charitable organizations. Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, with $103.2 billion in assets.

Date Published: 12/01/2005
Volume: 25   Number: 17


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