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Working With Community Organizations To Improve The Pipeline Of Minorities In Engineering

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Developing Young MINDs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1317.1 - 8.1317.6

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Paper Authors

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Barbara Christie

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

Session 1170

Working with Community Organizations to Improve the Pipeline of Minorities in Engineering

Barbara A. Christie Manager of the Program for the Retention of Engineering and Science Students Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles


The Program for the Retention of Engineering and Science Students (PRESS) is designed to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities and women in the College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Finding ways to recruit students is normally the job of the admissions office. The admissions office mission is to recruit students to apply to the university without targeted majors. It is often up to the each department to find the best and brightest students.

The College of Science and Engineering at LMU wanted to do more to improve our chances of recruiting underrepresented students. In order to accomplish this goal we started a high school outreach program in the summer of 2001. We found funding from private corporations and foundations that shared our goal of increasing the pipeline of students in engineering majors by improving the representation of African American, Latino, Native American, and female students. This article discusses the methods the PRESS Office used to develop a very valuable and meaningful program that supports our community and benefits the University.

I. Introduction

Working with local high schools to improve the pipeline of minorities entering engineering and other technical fields can prove to be very challenging. Immediately many questions arise such as: Who do you speak with at the high school: the principal, counselors, or individual teachers? How do you recruit for students? Do you visit during science and math classes, or have an assembly or invite parents for a career night discussion? The barriers to working with several high schools can be overwhelmingly complex for an engineering department at a typical university.

One solution to improving your odds of reaching highly motivated students who have a strong aptitude for science and mathematics is to work with community organizations that provide academic enrichment to minority students. Many communities around the United States have church organizations, or high school outreach organizations such as Young Black Scholars or Upward Bound that work with minority students on Saturdays or after school during the academic school year. These organizations are a valuable source of inspired students who are tailor-made for recruitment into a science, engineering or mathematics department.

Christie, B. (2003, June), Working With Community Organizations To Improve The Pipeline Of Minorities In Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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