By Sherry DiBari

Last week, nine incoming female engineering students got a head start on their academic success at Old Dominion University.

Students in the Early Engineering Advantage Program (EEAP), a residential program, spent the week working on presentation skills and team-building group projects.

Events included an engineering panel, etiquette lunch, a classroom finding expedition and submarine tour at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Batten College of Engineering and Technology established EEAP in 2001 to attract, retain and develop female students in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering. Over the past 20 years, many alumni have gone on to successful engineering careers at organizations like NASA, Amazon, PepsiCo, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Norfolk Southern, Dominion Energy and General Dynamics.

The program is partially sponsored by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

The week's events concluded with student presentations and a visit from Abbie Dean, an EEAP alumni and professional engineer. She advised the students to pursue their outside interests and participate in non-academic clubs. "It's important to feed your soul as well as your academics," she said.

The group will stay connected throughout the year with monthly meetings.

"The best part of the week was seeing all the women engineers and bonding with the girls at night after the activities," said Alanna Garrett. "It's great to know that I will have this support group at ODU," she added.

Learn more about EEAP here.