Halliburton Selects Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science for Grant to Create New Program That Encourages Gender Diversity in the Workforce

Sarah Stair Legos
Sarah Stair, Baylor's first candidate in the School of Engineering and Computer Science's new mechanical engineering Ph.D. program, which launched in fall 2014. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
April 7, 2015

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WACO, Texas (April 7, 2015) – Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has received a grant from Halliburton to develop a “Ladies and Legos” program that engages women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields to encourage and empower young women in college through active dialogue and community support.

“The ‘Ladies and Legos’ program is a fun and casual way to bring together women at different stages of their academic and professional careers to talk about their experiences in the classroom and workplace,” said Emily Sandvall, associate director of undergraduate programs for the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). “Many women in STEM fields do not have an arena to discuss the unique challenges women face in male-dominated industries. The ‘Ladies and Legos’ program is an opportunity to create dialogue that encourages gender diversity in the workforce and empowers women to succeed.”

This year’s discussion will feature distinguished and novice industry representatives from Halliburton, IBM, SpaceX and Diversified Product Development, in addition to female ECS faculty members. The discussion will take place in small groups where women can build and play with Legos, a toy that just four years ago had a 90 percent male consumer base, and is facilitated by Baylor’s Counseling Center.

“Halliburton is excited to team up with Baylor University by providing grant funding for the ‘Ladies and Legos’ program. This unique program promotes engagement in math, science and engineering, fostering ethnic and gender diversity in those disciplines,” said Dennis Voegele, Halliburton manager of global talent acquisition. “Halliburton values this concept — building a more diverse workforce is a key goal in our strategy for long-term business sustainability. Baylor presented a proposal of excellent merit that aligns perfectly with our objectives, and we believe that our link with this innovative program will greatly benefit Halliburton and our industry, now and in the future.”

The “Ladies and Legos” program will be held from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, and Tuesday, April 21, in the Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, Room 109, on the Baylor campus. The event is open to all undergraduate women in STEM fields of study.

For more information, contact Kate Amaya, director of communications and external relations for Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, at 254-710-6826, or Kate_Amaya@baylor.edu.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


With more than 10 percent of Baylor University’s freshman class pursuing major courses of study in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the focus remains on preparing graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian world view. ECS majors include bioinformatics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering, and mechanical engineering. Among ECS graduate programs are Master of Science degrees in all disciplines, a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, and several dual degree programs. The Teal Residential College, in which engineering and computer science students and faculty live, fosters the pursuit of wisdom, academic excellence, and meaningful relationships for the development of diverse, innovative leaders.

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