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Through partnerships with like-minded entities, NACME serves as a catalyst to increase the proportion of African American, American Indian, and Latino young women and men in STEM careers. We inspire and encourage excellence in engineering education and career development toward achieving a diverse and dynamic American workforce.
The academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are typically referred to under the acronym STEM. These subjects have become a focal point for educators and policy makers due to the high demand for qualified professionals in these fields. To fill this demand, the pool of students who receive STEM education from K-12 through college must be expanded. NACME works to bring engineering education to underrepresented minorities (URM’s) — African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos — who are expected to comprise 40 percent of the overall population by 2050. The key to U.S. competitiveness in the future global market is engaging these groups to pursue STEM education and careers.
College students have been forced to absorb increasing amounts of debt due to rising educational costs. This issue, which NACME refers to as The College Affordability Crisis, is particularly problematic for underrepresented minority students, who, on average, accumulate higher student loan debt totals compared to their peers (see NACME’s 2013 College Affordability Research Brief). Once enrolled, many minority students are forced to work in order to support themselves financially, which can often be detrimental to their academic performance. Financial aid and scholarships in particular, can help to alleviate this burden.
For the past 40 years, NACME has awarded engineering scholarships to African American, American Indian, and Latino students seeking a postsecondary degree. NACME distributes these awards, through the NACME Scholars (block grant) Program, to colleges and universities that, in turn, distribute funding to talented underrepresented minority students enrolled in engineering programs as part of their financial aid packages. NACME annually awards more than $4 million in scholarships to underrepresented minority engineering students.