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Expanding the Engineering Pathway for Underrepresented Minorities

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Attracting Young Minds: Part I

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.606.1 - 25.606.8

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Paper Authors


Aileen M. Walter National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, NACME, Inc.

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Aileen Walter began her second stint at NACME as Vice President, Scholarships and University Relations. In this capacity, she is responsible for the management and direction of all NACME scholarship programs and scholarship management services. In 2003, she implemented the NACME Scholars’ Program, an initiative that includes a partnership with more than 40 colleges and universities. She also administers the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. and Indigenous Graduate Partnerships. Both programs are focused on increasing the number of underrepresented American minorities who earn Ph.D. degrees in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Walter has more than 20 years of experience in scholarship management and in developing successful college and university partnerships to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities. She currently serves as a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities – Minority Male STEM Initiative Task Force, the Advisory Council for the University of Colorado’s Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity Initiative, and Cornell University’s Diversity Programs in Engineering Advisory Council and has served on the boards of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Walter holds a B.A. degree in English literature from Montclair State College and a M.A. degree in higher education administration from New York University. The mission of NACME is to ensure American resilience in a “flat” world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability by increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. For the past 37 years, NACME has established a legacy of leadership and service in its dual role of changing lives through its involvement in K-12 and higher education, and its ability to change America through its policy leadership advocacy to develop an engineering workforce that looks like America.

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Saundra Johnson Austin National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, NACME, Inc. Orcid 16x16

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Saundra Johnson Austin joined NACME on Sept. 1, 2010 as Senior Vice President for Operations. Johnson Austin has a combination of secondary, post seconday, non-profit, and corporate experience that gives her a unique perspective of NACME’s mission. She received a bachelor's of science (B.S.) degree in civil engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a master's of business administration (M.B.A.) degree from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining the NACME team, she served as the first President and CEO for St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, N.M., and from 2005-2008, she served as the Executive Vice President for the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning (CPLL) in Benton Harbor, Mich. From 2000-2005, she was Executive Director of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. [GEM]. From 1994-2000, she held the position of Director of the Minority Engineering Program at the Pennsylvania State University. Johnson Austin also worked for seven years with Bechtel Power Corporation in progressively more complex assignments as a Field Cost Engineer, Civil Estimator, Assistant Cost Engineer, and Cost Engineer. In addition to her professional titles, she has also been a long-time advocate for the education of underrepresented minorities in STEM and has published and presented several papers on the topic at national conferences to government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

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Abstract Expanding the Engineering Pathway for Underrepresented Minorities – (MIND)With rapid progress in science and technology in developing countries, our nation must actquickly to maintain a leadership position in STEM and innovation. Yet the challenge of theincreased diversity of U.S. college students has yet to be adequately addressed, especially inengineering fields. NACME’s vision is to create “An Engineering Workforce That Looks LikeAmerica,” via increased recruitment and degree completion rates of underrepresented minority(URM) students.Since 1974, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has developedpartnerships at 160 colleges and universities providing $124 million to 22,000 underrepresentedminority engineering students. NACME has had a longstanding history for supporting theengineering pathway for African American, Latino and American Indian men and women. Whilethe primary NACME delivery model has been through scholarships, supported by a preeminentgroup of Fortune 500 companies, NACME has learned that achieving success in increasingunderrepresented minority participation in engineering study requires a multifaceted strategy toaddress the continuum from middle school to workforce entry. The multifaceted NACMEstrategy integrates our programs designed to increase the number of underrepresented minoritieswho earn their baccalaureate degrees in engineering. These initiatives include, Pre-EngineeringPrograms; Scholarships and University Relations; Research; and Policy.The session will address NACME’s STEM Integration Model with a focus on partnerships, best-practices and data driven strategies with the goal of expanding the engineering pathway. Morespecifically, we will highlight NACME’s college and university partnerships to increase thegraduation-to-retention rates of URM students in engineering as well as the cultivation ofmiddle, high school and community college students’ success in STEM.Topics that will be addressed include:―Developing innovative partnerships to increase the capacity and capability of academic institutions to recruit, admit, retain, educate and graduate underrepresented minority students in engineering―Establishing regional pilot projects across the United States―Measuring the impact of NACME’s STEM Integration Model

Walter, A. M., & Johnson Austin, S. (2012, June), Expanding the Engineering Pathway for Underrepresented Minorities Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.

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