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Improving Minority Representation In Engineering Programs

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.344.1 - 5.344.6



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Paper Authors

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Willie Ofosu

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2670 Improving Minority Representation In Engineering Programs

Willie K. Ofosu Penn State Wilkes-Barre P. O. Box PSU Lehman, PA 18727 Tel: (570) 675-9137 e-mail:


It is common knowledge that minorities are under represented in the field of engineering. This fact is also evidenced in the representation of minorities in engineering programs, both at the Associate and the Baccalaureate levels. Generally, the few minorities who have from time to time enrolled in engineering programs have consistently proved that minorities are just as capable, and have just as much chance of completing their programs as do well represented groups. Different suggestions for improving the numbers of minorities in universities and colleges are presented.


Historically, minorities have not had equal opportunity in pursuing academic goals. Though there has been a dramatic change to this situation over the years, minorities are under represented in colleges and universities at the present time. The numbers of minorities in professions that require associate, baccalaureate, or in some cases post- graduate degrees as entry level qualification, such as engineering, are low.

A catalog of explanations can be advanced as reasons for small numbers of minorities enrolling in engineering programs, but the intention however is to examine workable processes that could lead to a set of approaches that will attract more minorities to the engineering field. These can be listed as

(i) visibility (ii) educating the youth about opportunities in industry (iii) for those with entrepreneurial skills, the possibility of starting their own businesses.

Numerical Estimates

In discussing this issue, it will serve well to examine some numbers to establish that there is indeed a problem that needs attention. The state of Pennsylvania1 is used in this exercise, but the concerns are the same nationally. The statistics presented show the numbers for specific years. It must be noted that a group of students were not followed from 1st Grade through graduation from college in collecting the following data.

Ofosu, W. (2000, June), Improving Minority Representation In Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8442

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