YWCA’s Woman of Wisdom Dr. Leah Jamieson

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-  Dr. Leah Jamieson is a part of several small groups. Purdue’s Dean of the College of Engineering is one of about 30 engineering deans, who are women, in the country. She is the only one in the Big Ten.

She is one of 62 women on Purdue’s engineering faculty. But times have changed, when she started as an associate professor in 1976 she was one of three women in the college.

“If you talk to women who are here on the faculty up until about number 13 or 14 we all know exactly what number we were, and once you get past that they don’t know,” Jamieson said. “I think that’s a turning point.”

Jamieson is now part of another small group. She is being named a Woman of Wisdom at the YWCA’s annual Salute to Women event.

Jamieson breaks the stereotype of an engineer. She said that is what makes women so important to engineering.

“There are a lot of stereotypes of engineers and engineering,” Jamieson said. “I think one of the things women can bring to engineering is our perspectives that break the stereotypes.”

Jamieson said it was a long road before being named dean eight years ago. It’s something she would have never imagined when she was an undergrad at MIT in the late 1960s. Then, she was one of 50 women in a class of 1,000.

Her advice to women is simple, and it is something she does every day.

“Love what you’re doing,” Jamieson said. “I think at the heart of everything, this is for the women close to me and everyone, find something you love doing.”

Jamieson admits the engineering field still has places where it can grow. She hopes one day another woman can join her at the yearly Big Ten meeting of engineering deans.

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