June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Minorities in Engineering
11.487.1 - 11.487.23
Discover Engineering - A High School Conference for Students and Teachers
The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University held its first Discover Engineering conference on Saturday, October 22, 2005. The goals of the conference were to interest high school students in a career in engineering and inform parents and teachers about the contributions made by engineers. When developing partnerships, there was a focus on programs targeted to underrepresented students. There was also a concentrated effort made to connect existing programs to each other so a smooth path to college and engineering exists.
Engineering Workforce Commission (EWC) national summary reports Fall19981, 94,909 students were enrolled as first year undergraduate engineering students. Assuming the average time to graduation is five years, these same students graduated in 2002. In 2002, the total bachelor’s degrees awarded to engineering students of all disciplines were 68,6482. If colleges of engineering retained ten percent more of the entering first year students, this improvement would increase the number of graduating engineers on an annual basis by at least 6,700. This ten percent increase in retention alone would go a long way in addressing the national need for technical talent in engineering. Another factor needing special attention is the enrollment in and ultimate graduation from engineering programs by students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Graduation of women from engineering programs at the same rate as men would address the current, shortage of engineers. The same applies for the graduation of Hispanic and African Americans. Therefore, to address the technical needs of the nation, underrepresented groups in engineering must be engaged at levels proportionate to their participation in the U.S. population.
A study by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME3), which assessed the periods of 1980-81 and 1989-90, shows the percentage of ethnic minority engineering first year students who persist to earn engineering degrees is about half that of non- minority first year students. The extensive industry and government supported K-12 outreach efforts also influence students from underrepresented groups who dream of working in science- related careers. Nevertheless, the historically low persistence rate in engineering schools for underrepresented students means that even smaller fractions of students from underrepresented groups eventually seek jobs in the engineering arena. According to the U.S. Council on Competitiveness4, boosting the participation of women and minorities in the science and engineering workforce presents the single greatest opportunity to expand the nation’s pool of technical talent.
Consequently, efforts are being made by institutions to target under-represented groups and increase community involvement to educate the youth on topics dealing with career choices within the engineering discipline. Conferences, such as Discover Engineering, have been a mechanism for universities to build strong partnerships and provide opportunity for precollege students and parents to visit the campus and the college.
Lee, M., & Rinehart, J., & Starks, S., & Villatoro, K. (2006, June), Discover Engineering A High School Conference For Students And Teachers Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--985
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