America is facing a crisis of underrepresented minorities (URMs) entering the field of engineering, which can be traced back to their elementary and secondary school preparation (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, 2014). With competitive admission criteria, our URMs are not obtaining the necessary admission criteria to be accepted into most engineering programs across the United States. URMs are encountering barriers in terms of preparation in challenging STEM subjects, standardized testing, and other academic barriers related to the expectations of being an engineer.
The purpose of this workshop is to introduce a new conference model that focuses on a community-based approach to engineering summer programs. The Tickle College of Engineering’s Engineering VOLunteers for Ninth Graders (eVOL9) program will serve as a platform for discussing challenges facing prospective URMs in engineering and approaches for equipping students, parents, and teachers with resources to bridge the gap in URMs representation in engineering.
In this workshop, participants will learn strategies to start changing the conversation surrounding academic preparation for URMs interested in engineering in their community. Participants will also brainstorm ideas on how to identify champions in their community to promote academic preparation, standardized testing time frames, and early exposure to engineering.