Mechanical engineering has historically been a field dominated by men.
At the School of Mines, 95% of students are men.
Nationwide, women account for only 20% of all engineering bachelor degrees.
But one Rapid City university is making an effort to support and encourage female students.
"I look around and, 'Oh I'm the only woman in here'," said Kanysa Bartsch, a 4th year mechanical engineering student at the School of Mines.
Bartsch knows what it means to be outnumbered.
"It's very intimidating for entering freshmen, they switch to different majors because they're intimidated,"said Bartsch.
"A couple of the students were telling me they didn't know any of their female counterparts In the program. They were feeling isolated," said Lisa Carlson, Associate director of recruitment for the mechanical engineering department at the School of Mines.
While only 15% of female engineering students graduate with a mechanical engineering degree, the School of Mines hopes its new mentoring program will help retain students and remove common misconceptions about the field.
"There is a lot of demand for women in engineering not just because of diversity but because mechanical engineering is very design oriented. When you add one or two women to a mostly male team, the testosterone goes down, the creativity goes up. The end product is a better one," said Carlson.
"There's so much you can do with it, you can go into the medical field, design shoes," said Bartsch.
The program will provide student-to-student mentoring to freshmen pursue their interests with professional development activities.
"I really hope to get a better understanding of the department, what we can become a part of," said Lauren Keene, a program freshman.
For Bartsch, the program provides a chance to pass along some lessons she's learned about women the field.
"They're underestimated. We are really intelligent and we do know what we are talking about, its just getting over the stigma that engineering is for men,"said Bartsch.
The number of women enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at the School of Mines has been steadily rising due to increased recruitment.
This year, 41 out of the 500 students are women.