NACME Scholarship Programs

Scholarship Programs

Expanding Participation for Tomorrow’s Underrepresented Minority Engineers

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Career Center

College-to-Career Engagement by Connecting NACME Scholars with Corporate Supporters

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Corporate Support

Committed to Helping Minority Women and Men Succeed in STEM Education and Careers

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Partner Institutions

Graduating More Than 30 Percent of All Underrepresented Minority Engineering Students

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Our Purpose

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.

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October 6, 2015

 

We recently took a survey of our incoming NACME Scholar freshmen and asked them why they decided to choose engineering as a college major. The top two answers the students submitted were ‘Because I am good at math’ and ‘Because I like to solve problems.’

At the same time, parents often tell us they are encouraged by the employment prospects and starting salaries of engineers. A response we hear less frequently is ‘Engineers change the world,’ or ‘Engineers improve people’s lives.’ Choosing a career path to help others or to benefit the larger society has often been associated with phrases such as ‘life calling’ or ‘vocation.’ Perhaps, if our goal is to bring more underrepresented minorities into the engineering profession, emphasizing the vocational aspects of the field might be a great way to attract the next generation.

In a recent book entitled, “The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students About Vocation,” author Tim Clydesdale argues that all colleges, not just religiously affiliated ones, should talk to their students about choosing a career path that aligns with a sense of life purpose.

A focus of Clydesdale’s book was a wide ranging experiment at 88 campuses, funded by the Lily Endowment 15 years ago. The purpose of the experiment was to see what happened when colleges and universities engaged students in a dialogue about how they might lead meaningful lives. Clydesdale points out that many years later, long after the funds from the Lily Endowment have run out, the programs are still going strong. The reason? Students and universities prize these programs and have reported both personal and professional gains from them.

We recently heard from a student who decided to study engineering at college after being introduced to the field at one of our Academies of Engineering in High School. He told us of the personal rewards that he has experienced from designing prosthetic limbs. We meet other engineers who have worked in the Peace Corps or with other international relief agencies. And, of course, engineers who work as part of large teams to solve many of society’s most pressing problems must also feel the personal rewards derived from their work.

University programs with a technical bent may shy away from these conversations. And we may fall into the old trap of saying discussions about ‘life purpose’ are better directed towards students in the social sciences or humanities. But engineers and those in STEM fields more broadly have a lot to feel good about. 

 

STEM Education

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.

Scholarships for Minorities in Engineering

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.

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