2019 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit

Symposium BI01-High Impact Practice—Increasing Ethnic and Gender Diversification in Engineering Education

This symposium will cover the historical roots, social forces and outcomes of the 40 year national effort by universities, corporations and governmental agencies to increase the numbers, retention and graduation outcomes of underrepresented student groups in engineering education and the workforce. Increasing the number of engineering graduates by broadening the participation of underrepresented groups is an imperative for U.S. global economic leadership and effective national security and well as added value to business. This symposium presents the perfect opportunity to increase diversity, especially by offering participants the strategies and methodologies to ensure that women and underrepresented minorities (URM) pursue and persist in engineering education. All students can enhance their academic and social skills through positive interactions with peers and professors of different backgrounds. Diversity speeds research and increases productivity on campus and beyond because teams, companies, and communities benefit from the various perspectives of individual members. To keep advancing innovation, the engineering field must prioritize diversity as demand for skilled professionals persists. This presents the perfect opportunity to increase diversity, especially by ensuring that women and underrepresented minorities (URM) pursue and persist in engineering education. Both groups face challenges — whether cultural expectations, lack of access to preparatory classes, or a dearth of role models from similar backgrounds — that keep them from full participation in the engineering workforce. The symposium is delivered in a tripartite format. The first section reviews the early, social dislocations and pressures that led corporations, universities and governments to discard barriers that historically excluded populations of color from educational and employment opportunities. This initial section will focus on the coordinated responses industry, university (engineering) and national academy leaders initiated to develop efforts, models, and programs to increase the numbers and retention of underrepresented engineering students (URES). Reports on URES outcomes and the prevailing challenges that attenuate or drive success in diversifying the engineering K-20 continuum will be an additional focal point. A discussion on males of color will point to dispelling the stereotypical threat that hinders their development. The second section presents two foci that address recruitment and academic community building models that promote persistence, academic resilience and achievement among low income students of color and its application to interventions that promote success in first year STEM courses for URES—URM and majority women in engineering. Examples of high impact URES retention programs and theories will be highlighted to inform MSE departments and faculty on methodologies to increase numbers of URES and effectively engaged them in the discipline. These exemplary centers are led by experts and members of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA) whose efforts are aimed broaden participation of students of color in engineering in 75 schools of engineering. The third section will present state and mission of diversity efforts at the university wide, corporate enterprise and the NSF cross cutting diversity efforts and other national organization with respect to women and low income students of color who seek advanced study. The key interest here is the identifying and detailing the benefits gained forming partnerships with corporate diversity and talent acquisition representatives and campus-wide diversity resources. This symposium will include presentations and panel discussions. Abstracts will be solicited in the following areas: engineering design process as framework for diversifying schools of engineering, evidence-based research and high impact practice for URES success

Topics will include:

  • The historical forces and outcomes of the national effort to increase the racial and cultural mix of students in engineering education and workforce
  • Model programs that address the challenges to broaden URES participation across K-20 engineering continuum
  • Corporate advocacy and partnerships to support for programs to increase
  • Retention: Freshmen and transfer student STEM Bridge Programs
  • Support for low income, first generation and undocumented engineering students
  • Black males and academic success
  • Women in Engineering, minority females and the double bind
  • Sustainable STEM outreach programs
  • Partnership across K-20 STEM continuum allied with technical corporations and the National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Expert resources in retention and development of URES and women in engineering
  • Role of theories on academic and social integration, engagement, persistence & belonging related to attrition

Invited Speakers:

  • Rohini Anand (Sodexo Corporation, USA)
  • Jenni/M. Buckley (University of Delaware, USA)
  • Darryl Dickerson (Purdue University, USA)
  • Sonia Garcia (Texas A&M University, USA, USA)
  • Sean Harper (University of Southern California, USA)
  • Rachel McCord (University of Tennessee in Knoxville, USA)
  • Justin Schwartz (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
  • Barbara Whye (Intel Corporation, USA)
  • KiMi Wilson (California State University, Los Angeles, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Bevlee Watford
Virginia Tech
College of Engineering

Olivia Graeve
University of California, San Diego
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Leslie Momoda
HRL Laboratories, LLC

Makita Phillips
Carbice Corporation

Publishing Alliance

MRS publishes with Springer Nature