NACME in the News


Gwen Moore
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National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
announces Michele Lezama as President & CEO

White Plains, NY, February 22, 2018 – The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering is proud to announce the selection of Michele Lezama as president and chief executive officer, effective March 26, 2018.

Michele served as the CEO and executive director of The National GEM Consortium (GEM). GEM is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented individuals who pursue and receive a masters or PhD in engineering, computer science and other applied science fields. During her tenure at GEM, she strategically positioned the consortium for advancement by moving their headquarters from its 30-year home in Indiana to the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Prior to GEM, Michele served as executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. She is credited for turning around the organization’s financial position, tripling the organization’s capital position and creating a long-term investment structure. Under her leadership, NSBE received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awarded by the White House Office of Science and Technology.

“NACME is delighted to have Michele join the organization as president and CEO,” said Ray Dempsey, NACME board chairman. “Her transformational leadership style and history of dedication and support of access to education for underrepresented minorities, is a great fit for NACME”.

Michele earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, and both her M.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as NACME’s President and CEO,” Lezama said. “As a proud NACME Scholar Alum, I am excited to work with the NACME team to dramatically increase the number of high performing students who gain access to our nation’s most rigorous engineering and computer science undergraduate programs, to deliver exceptional outcomes for our university and corporate partners and to actively showcase the opportunities and successes of our nation’s diverse STEM community”.

# # #

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering supports high-performing African American, American Indian, and Latino engineering and computer science students, from college-to-career. NACME is nurturing the next generation of diverse leaders.

For additional information, visit

To view a PDF version of this press release, click here

How to write a brilliant essay: A guide for ambitious students

For ambitious students, creating an essay, in other words, a motivational letter for university admission, is a chance to demonstrate academic ability, original thinking and impress with written English skills. Some students like the process of writing because it gives them the opportunity to put their academic skills into practice and make worthwhile arguments.

The question often arises of how to write a memorable essay and differentiate oneself in the crowd. In this article we will tell you this secret.

Why are we writing an essay?

Before we write it, we need to get back to the basics, understand who will check and analyze, after that it will be clear what teachers are looking for.

Not only the level of the student is taken into account, but also many other aspects:

Knowledge is essential, writing an essay buyessayfriend provides an opportunity to check and consolidate information that is important in the learning process, especially in the humanities.

Understanding - testing the understanding and explanation of complex concepts and situations. Teachers pay attention to your ability to reveal a given topic.

It is also a test of your ability to perceive and process a lot of information in such a short time, the ability to highlight important information.

A test of your ability to communicate in written English.

Writing a paper, as part of the whole admission procedure, is also subject to a limited time limit, which tests your ability to plan and allocate work. Of course, all tasks must be completed at the highest level and submitted on time.

The characterization of a perfect essay

We already know why we're writing an essay, but it's not enough. Teachers may have their own preferences in choosing the best, but there are still some features that distinguish the best from the best:

1.Originality of thought
The distinctive feature of a good essay is originality. It does not mean that you have to present the novelty of the research, in fact, you will have enough time to study deeply each subject individually on GCSE, A-level, or even IB.

2. Deep knowledge
It goes without saying that your essay should demonstrate not only deep knowledge, but also a clear understanding of the topic of the current problem, and reveal the topic, confirmed by a large number of arguments and theses. To confirm the high quality of your work, you need to process a lot of information and compare other people's ideas about the topic.

3.Concretization of information
The purpose of keeping an impeccable essay is to inform and convince. The use of specific knowledge related to the topic does not take much time from teachers. This brings us back to the question of sorting out the relevant facts and highlighting the necessary and important information from the general. Unneeded information only shows that you don't quite get the point.

4. Perfect English.
The structure of the presentation should be perceived with ease. Suggestions should be logically constructed and understood the first time. The main thing is to stick to the logical connection between the proposals and the transition from one fact to another. And, of course, spelling and grammar must be flawless.

5.Additional knowledge
Persistent students always read more than the recommended literature list.
Undoubtedly, reading books overtime will give you the opportunity to improve your knowledge, be the best among your peers and make a deep impression on your outstanding essays. When studying English, for example, you do not need to read only specific texts.

We offer you a few tips that will help you expand your knowledge by reading additional literature:
- Read and compare different works by the author;
- Work with contemporary literature. Analyse the text of your essay and see if you support contemporary thinking;
- Do a psychological analysis of the author's work, study the works of his predecessors that inspired him to write;
- Read literary criticisms;
- Analyse the thoughts of critics and find out whose opinions you are closest to;
- Prehistory. Here you can refer to the context of the work (back to this later).

At first glance, it may seem that our advice is a lot of additional work. It's also good to check other methods, such as taking notes, writing out important information from the custom writing context.

Before you start writing an essay, set a goal.

You must be tired of hearing this kind of advice. But it's very important to start writing work with concrete ideas. You need an essay plan for that. It won't take long, just open a new Word document and write down the ideas you want to discuss in order.

Balanced arguments

A good essay combines two sides of the presentation of arguments, on the one hand the presentation of information, and on the other hand the consideration of different points of view. Unilateral arguments will not impress the admissions committee.

Your opinion is also taken into account.

Justify your opinion. It will show that you're not hiding behind other people's thoughts.


Intel Design Ideation Camp

On September 21, NACME Board Company Intel, in partnership with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, hosted a group of talented female engineering students at NACME Partner Institution, NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering MakerSpace, to kick off their first ever Design Ideation Camp. Freshmen to seniors participated in an all day workshop lead by Henrik Scheel, Founder and CEO of Startup Experience Inc., meant to inspire students to unleash their creativity through technology.

The women heard from fashion mogul Rebecca Minkoff, Co-founder and Creative Director of Rebecca Minkoff and her brother Uri Minkoff, about the merging of fashion and technology industries and how, with a little creativity, engineering and technology together can revolutionize the fashion world.

NYU Tandon students listened as Rebecca and Uri discussed the importance of a STEM degree and explained how fashion is no longer driven solely by the creative side but now, technology and engineering professionals are getting an equal share in the process. For women looking for a way to break out of traditional engineering roles, the workshop encouraged them to “stay with it” and pursue STEM degrees, which have proven to be a real asset in the fashion world.

When asked about the job market for female engineers looking for non-traditional engineering roles, Rebecca Minkoff responded, she would hire four female programmers in a heartbeat with the talent to combine fashion and technology, but they’re just not there. The market is rapidly expanding and the need for students graduating with STEM degrees and an interest in the fashion industry is only going to increase.

To further portray the need for engineers in the fashion industry, Rhonda James, Intel Global Diversity & Inclusion/ Strategy & External Alliances and NACME Board Liasion, presented a video of their collaborations with designer Ezra & Tuba, showcasing a beautiful silver and blue gown covered with shimmering butterflies programmed with the Intel Edison Chip to fly off the dress and flap their expertly crafted wings before settling back down on the dresses shoulders. As the designers of the dress stated, “The future of clothing as we know it, is about to change. To be a part of this change we need technology” (view the butterfly dress in action). Through Intel’s presentation and Q&A with Rebecca and Uri Minkoff, the women in attendance were inspired to explore non-traditional uses for their STEM degrees and discover what other skills were crucial to being a successful engineer in the fashion industry.

To lead them through the Design Ideation Camp, Intel introduced the women to Henrik Scheel. Henrik is a Danish serial entrepreneur currently living in San Francisco where he focuses on projects in entrepreneurship education, impact investing, and tech startups in various sectors. NACME’s Chief Development Officer, Elizabeth Ross, and Development Coordinator, Chelsea Chateauvert, were invited to participate in brainstorming exercises lead by Henrik as female students from all engineering disciplines were inspired to solve everyday problems through a combination of technology and fashion design. “Our group had some brilliant ideas on how to solve the fear of sexual assault for women using different types of smart jewelry with built-in alert systems and GPS tracking capabilities,” said Chelsea Chateauvert, “the women discussed what types of technology would be needed to make the product work and were conscientious about the design to help the product appeal to female consumers.”

One of the key lessons learned by these women through the all day workshop was, in order to be successful as an engineer, no matter your gender or ethnicity; you need to think creatively about solving problems that affect you as an individual. They truly learned how to “unleash their creativity with technology” and came to understand how creative thinking is exactly what makes diverse engineers, whether African American, American Indian, Latino, or women in general, stand out and drive innovation among a white male dominated industry. Bottom line, “It’s time for women to even the score!”

Special thanks to NACME Partners, Intel and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, for hosting the next generation of female engineers for a great day of creative learning.



NACME Works to Ensure Accessible, Affordable, and Accountable Engineering Education for Minorities

NACME Works to Ensure Accessible, Affordable, and Accountable Engineering Education for Minorities


Motivated by the staggeringly low number of minorities in STEM programs and professions, minority leaders, business executives, the academic community, and corporations came together in the early 1970s to create four unaffiliated organizations to address this issue. However, it wasn’t until several years later when these groups merged to form the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), that real change began.

“NACME … was charted to conduct research, identify the impediments limiting access to careers in engineering, and implement programs to achieve a technical workforce that’s truly reflective of the American population,” says NACME President and CEO Irving Pressley McPhail, EdD.

And since the organization’s founding, underrepresented minorities in engineering have increased from 2 to 12 percent.

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NACME’s ability to help reduce this disparity is due to its multifaceted approach, says Christopher Smith, PhD, the organization’s director of scholarships, university relations, and research. To overcome barriers and increase access to the profession, NACME focuses on three key areas: scholarship programs, an online career center, and data collection.

For more than 40 years, NACME has awarded scholarships to African American, American Indian, and Latino students seeking degrees in engineering. Through its NACME Scholars Program, it allocates block grants to U.S. colleges and universities — partners of NACME — that distribute the money as scholarships to talented underrepresented minority students.

NACME also provides scholarships directly to students via several fellowship awards. Since its founding, the organization has awarded more than $150 million in scholarship and program support to 24,000 underrepresented minority students.

Smith says scholarships are key to easing students’ stress and debt load, helping keep them on the path to success.

“Scholarships are a really important aid for students,” he says. “Working during college is not a detriment, but it can become taxing on a student and [hurt] their ability to be retained in school. [Scholarship money] helps them avoid loans, it helps them avoid extra long hours at work while they’re studying, it helps them enroll full time as opposed to part time, and [it helps them] advance faster in their education.”

But as far as partner institutions go, NACME is selective and expects schools that receive funds to be actively moving the needle. The organization seeks colleges and universities “that demonstrate their capacity to recruit, admit, retain, educate, and graduate underrepresented minority engineering students,” says Aileen Walters, vice president of the career center, community, and partnerships at NACME. And, Smith says, schools continue to be held accountable in these areas throughout the life of
the partnership.

“We’re not just distributing money to these institutions, we’re also collecting key data from them,” he says. “Some of [what we] collect … are the retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students in engineering, as well as how their peers are doing in the college of engineering. And if there is a gap, say at the start of the grant period, we want to see progress toward parity over time.”

Much of the data NACME has collected has shown striking differences between NACME scholars and other students. According to McPhail, a study of six-year graduation rates of NACME scholars revealed a rate of 79.1 percent. “That 79.1 percent compares to 39 percent for all other minority students majoring in engineering, and it compares to 62 percent for [non-minority] students, so you’re talking about a level of accomplishment that exponentially exceeds the norm,” says McPhail.

Beyond education, NACME works to connect its scholars to summer internships and full-time jobs.

While increasing minority participation in engineering remains NACME’s central objective, the motivation driving that goal has expanded over time.

“The number of underrepresented minorities in this country is growing,” Smith says. “It is important to get these groups involved in these educational opportunities so they have a chance to advance American competitiveness in engineering.”●

Alexandra Vollman is the editor of INSIGHT Into Diversity

NACME Supports Underrepresented Engineering Students

NACME Supports Underrepresented Engineering Students


Connectivity 2020 strategy focuses on internships, full-time hires





NACME, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, has been supporting engineering students of color since 1979, thanks to its generous corporate partners.

BE Smart recently sat down with Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., NACME’s CEO and president, to talk about the organization’s work providing scholarship support to underrepresented students, and its new strategic direction.

How does NACME support underrepresented engineering students?

NACME is the largest private provider of scholarship support for underrepresented minority students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in engineering. We define “underrepresented” as African American, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native women and men.

Because of our corporate partners, NACME can support the production of talented minority students in engineering, and our corporate partners benefit by bringing extremely talented young people into their companies.

What has been NACME’s overall strategy?

NACME has embraced a strategic direction for the last five years that we called Connectivity 2015, which took us from 2010 to 2015. We embraced four key result areas:

  • Scholarships
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Pre-engineering
  • Engineering public policy

The contributions from our global engineering companies allowed us to support activities and accomplishments across those four areas, with the primary focus being scholarship support for our NACME scholars.

Our new strategic plan is Connectivity 2020, which embraces slight changes in direction based on our experience as well as the needs of the nation and the needs of our companies. Our new plan includes the theme College to Career.

We’re adding the career focus to more aggressively connect our scholars to our corporate partners for internships and full-time hires. So the core business of NACME today has been redefined as scholarship support and career development—internships and full-time hires. These represent the areas where NACME is pursuing direct engagement.

Is there an area of indirect engagement?

The second part of the strategy is our community partnership model, which involves our indirect engagement.

In this, NACME forges partnerships and collaborates with like-minded organizations to drive the pipeline—the pathway of preparation from K-12—as well as to influence the national discussion on U.S. competitiveness and where diversity and inclusion fits in. NACME isn’t driving the agenda but contributing to its support.

Given the resources available to NACME, the complexity of the K-12 STEM education issues, our board and management determined that NACME could be more effective as a major partner as opposed to a prime mover in the policy and K-12 space. NACME can best use its resources from corporate partners to drive the scholarship program and connect NACME scholars to internships and full-time hires at companies.

Bridging the racial gap in STEM education

Bridging the racial gap in STEM education

Early education, parenting, and industry support: More than 500 children and parents, mostly from African American and Latin American communities in the Chicago area, attended the 2015 ChiS&E orientation at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Experts from National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Engineering offered advice about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. See three STEM tips for parents and for engineers.



More than 500 children and their parents, mostly from African American and Latin American communities in the Chicago area, attended the 2015 ChiS&E orientation at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Image courtesy: Bob JohnsonThe Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering Program (ChiS&E) held its fall 2015 orientation session at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Sept. 19. More than 500 children and parents, mostly from African American and Latin American communities in the Chicago area, attended the event. The keynote speaker, Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) presented critical statistics about the racial gap in STEM education and encouraged attendees to start STEM education early.

Founded by Kenneth Hill in 2008, Chicago's ChiS&E has been providing inner city children and their parents from underrepresented communities the rare opportunity of engaging in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

The nature of the problem

During his speech at the orientation, Dr. McPhail showed research data from NACME and identified the following facts to stress the importance of moving more underrepresented minority students into the STEM field.

Dr. Kevin Pitts, associate dean of undergraduate programs and professor of physics at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Engineering, presented after Dr. McPhail to introduce the new physics program and inspire attendees to see the fun"This is a serious problem for America. By 2050 no one race/ethnic category will be a majority." The less we engage the ability of the "new majority of Americans to compete, the more we will be threatened," suggested Dr. McPhail. Some of the key data included:

  • Underrepresented minorities in STEM are three groups that have the lowest representation in the engineering education and the engineering workforce. These three groups are: African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians.
  • By 2050, there will no longer be a majority race. The diversifying U.S. population makes it clear that the key to America's future global competitiveness in STEM is engaging underrepresented populations at all stages of the educational pathway. Currently, there is a relatively low representation of underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields.
  • African Americans make up 13.2% of the U.S. population. Despite a representative sample of African Americans seen in other degree programs, they are exceedingly underrepresented in engineering. African Americans only represent 4% of engineering bachelor's degree recipients, 3.6% of the engineering workforce, and 2.6% of engineering faculty.
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives are not prevalent in engineering. Although they make up 1.2% of the total population, they represent only 0.4% of all engineering bachelor's degree recipients, 0.3% of the engineering workforce, and 0.1% of all engineering faculty.
  • Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. Currently, they represent 17.5% of the overall population and are expected to represent close to 27% of the population by 2050. Their representation in engineering, however, is not increasing proportionately. They constitute 9.0% of engineering bachelor's degree recipients, 6.3% of the engineering workforce, and 3.7% of engineering faculty.
  • SAT scores for Illinois residents are much higher on average than the SAT scores of students in other locations. The average SAT score for Illinois residents is 616, compared to the national average of 513. However, the racial divide remains, as African American students score 95 points below their white peers and 137 points below their Asian peers.
Bosch Rexroth

Early education for STEM

By 2050, there will no longer be a majority race in the United States. Courtesy: NACMETo move more underrepresented minority students into the STEM field, Dr. McPhail stressed that early intervention efforts are needed to close the achievement gap. Early education and parenting are two key components of the early intervention.

ChiS&E provides early education to students from these groups. With free science and engineering workshops for students and their parents in grades K-3 to K-12, ChiS&E is developing and implementing family engagement programs in the field of early childhood education.

To add another important subject in the STEM field, physics, to the ChiS&E program, ChiS&E partnered with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Chicago Public Schools to create the new physics program for 7th grade students. Dr. Kevin Pitts, associate dean of undergraduate programs and professor of physics at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Engineering, presented after Dr. McPhail to introduce the new program and inspired attendees to pursue STEM and see the fun side of physics.

Three STEM tips for parents

Parents should follow these strategies to inspire their children to pursue STEM education and careers:

  1. Be role models: Parents should introduce students to the STEM fields and cultivate student interest.
  2. Make STEM relatable: Video games, music, computers, cell phones, and automobiles are created by engineers.
  3. Encourage children to participate in extracurricular activities like clubs, field trips, after-school programs, and science research competitions.

The average SAT score for Illinois residents is 616, compared to the national average of 513. However, the racial divide remains, as African American students score 95 points below their white peers and 137 points below their Asian peers. Courtesy: NACMEThree ways working engineers can help STEM diversity

During an interview with CFE Media, Dr. McPhail presented three ways that working engineers and the industry can help support the development of underrepresented minorities' talent in the engineering field.

1. Awareness

Reach out to the K-12 sector, actively engage the students and parents to raise awareness about STEM education, present engineering as a viable career choice, emphasize the excitement of innovation, serve as role models for young people, and provide infrastructure and tools to students via schools.

2. Sponsor scholarships

Companies can provide scholarship support for underrepresented minority students to enroll in and to excel in engineering education. So far, NACME has provided over $142 million in support to over 24,000 engineering students over 41 years. A large portion of the scholarship came from 32 companies that are a part of the NACME board of directors.

3. Provide internships

Companies can also be effective in providing internship opportunities. Internships will provide students with practical experiences and networking opportunities that can then lead to future hiring opportunities upon their graduation. The 2013-14 graduating NACME Scholars reported on 160 internship and co-op experiences at 118 companies, which represented industry, government, and higher education.

"The corporate sector is key, and practicing engineers are key. Their volunteerism and engagement can help move the needle in unrepresented minority representation in technology and engineering," said McPhail.

More about ChiS&E

The ChiS&E provides highly engaging, age-appropriate, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities for Chicago Public School (CPS) students in grades K-3 to K-12 and their parents.

ChiS&E has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) for its work in "developing and implementing transformative family engagement programs in the field of early childhood education." ChiS&E is one of 30 organizations out of 1,130 applicants, nationwide to be so honored; and one of only two organizations funded in the state of Illinois.

The free programs take place in the spring and fall of each year, kicked off by an orientation session designed to familiarize parents and their children with the process for engineering programs. Parental participation is an essential component of the program. 

- Joy Chang is digital project manager, CFE Media, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Watch Dr. McPhail's presentation at:


Financing a Diverse Education: Corporate Scholarships Aid Minorities in STEM

Financing a Diverse Education: Corporate Scholarships Aid Minorities in STEM

Diversity in Action Fall 2015



Texas A&M University earns top spot among NACME scholars

Texas A&M University earns top spot among NACME scholars


Students from the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University have out-earned students from other universities for National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) scholarships. Twenty-seven students were named new recipients of the scholarship. The students were honored during a reception on Sept. 3. 

NACME aims to increase the proportion of African-American, American Indian and Latino graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers. NACME’s vision is to help shape the United States’ engineering workforce.

The Look College currently has 41 NACME scholars — the 27 new recipients and 14 existing students. The program was initially funded through a five-year NACME grant, which the 14 current existing NACME students are still receiving and benefiting from until they graduate.  However, the 27 new recipients and incoming freshmen students received their NACME scholarship through their high school partnerships with the NACME national organization. Extra-curricular activities, GPA and financial merit are taken into consideration for the scholarship. 

The NACME scholarship is focused on more than just financial benefit for the students. Scholars are required to participate in community service, development workshops, networking events, career acumen and professional development.

“The NACME scholarship program serves as another great resource for involving historically underrepresented students,” said Dr. Sonia Garcia. “They have a community of scholars and an expanded network that supports them and helps them to strive in their chosen engineering field.”

Garcia, who is the senior director for Access & Inclusion, strives to work with all scholars beyond their first year by having extra-curricular involvements.

“The NACME events have helped me [become] more involved with leadership organizations, such as becoming a camp counselor and engineering ambassador,” said Corinne Martinez a NACME member and a senior biomedical engineering student. 

Current NACME scholars serve as volunteers for the Engineering Aggies Gaining Experience (ENGAGE) fall invitationals where they serve as host, tour guides and speakers/panelists for high school students who are historically underrepresent in engineering and who attend a high school in Texas that has become an ENGAGE Partner School with the Look College.

Look College faculty members provide guidance to NACME members through career workshops. NACME scholars have access to the nationwide NACME network and have the opportunity to serve as an ambassador to NACME for the university.

Current NACME ambassador Anthony Ramirez serves as the liaison between national and campus scholars and helps to plan all events on campus.

“NACME has given me a voice to represent the underrepresented minority students in engineering at Texas A&M,” said Ramirez. “It has helped me learn to network and to expand my network on campus and with industry professionals.”

“My hope is for the program to grow and continue to be a resource for students,” said Garcia.

Minority Report: How Are Non-White Workers Faring In Westchester?

Minority Report: How Are Non-White Workers Faring In Westchester?

What is it like to be a minority in Westchester's business community?


Troubling Statistics for African Americans in STEM Careers

If you were to walk into any technology-driven enterprise in Westchester back in the 1970s, you would be hard-pressed to find one person of color among the ranks of engineers. That’s because minorities in the field of engineering were nearly nonexistent in Westchester 40 years ago—or anywhere in the US, according to Irving Pressley McPhail, EdD, of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) in White Plains. As NACME’s CEO, McPhail is focused on increasing the number of statistically underrepresented minority students earning degrees in engineering (minority students defined as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and Native Americans/Alaskans; interestingly, Asian Americans are not considered an underrepresented minority in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields). NACME does this by providing scholarship money to a network of elite universities that then recruit, enroll, retain, educate, and graduate these students.

In 2013, the number of minorities entering the workforce with engineering credentials was an estimated 13.4 percent, according to McPhail. In spite of these gains, McPhail is concerned. “The problem is that underrepresented minority students make up a much larger percent of total population than 13.4 percent,” he says.
Perhaps of even greater concern is the fact that African Americans are not keeping pace with other minority groups with respect to gains in engineering. In 2013, 9 percent of the total number of engineering degrees awarded to minorities went to Hispanic students, while 3.2 percent went to African Americans and 1.2 to Native Americans and Native Alaskans.  
As an African American himself, McPhail says, “I believe there is a real crisis in the African-American community across the board…and in what’s happening in our schools. There are far too few of our young people who understand engineering and how exciting STEM careers are... We have to stay focused on this issue; if we don’t, we [the global technology-driven firms] run the risk of losing our competitive edge in STEM.”

Hispanic Businesses Becoming More Mainstream

Fannie Aleman, president of the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in White Plains, says there’s a major cultural change happening within Westchester’s Hispanic business community. “We are evolving, remaining true to our roots, while still becoming part of mainstream America—breaking free of traditional thinking and becoming more strategic,” she says.

Aleman also explains that the strong growth in Hispanic and Latino businesses in Westchester can be attributed, in part, to these business owners making a shift into less-traditional business arenas. “Today, more Hispanic business owners are looking to open a business in high-growth industries and where they can fill a market need,” she explains. In another break from tradition, she notes, “We are pushing to have more women break into industries like STEM and construction that were traditionally dominated by men.”
Aleman suggests that the biggest challenges facing Hispanic and Latino business owners in Westchester are not actually unique to Latino-owned businesses. “The biggest challenges are associated with licensing and regulations because many small business owners don’t have the time to navigate confusing websites, paperwork, et cetera. But I think this is true for all small business owners—not just Latinos and not just minorities,” she says. Read more.


Dr. McPhail on ABC News' Here and Now

Click image to see video

ABC News HereAndNow

Here's how P&G plans to get more underrepresented minorities into STEM jobs

Here's how P&G plans to get more underrepresented minorities into STEM jobs

Jun 4, 2015, 10:08am EDT UPDATED: Jun 5, 2015, 6:17am EDT
Tatum Hunter
Courier Intern- Cincinnati Business Courier

Procter & Gamble Co. is bringing the underrepresentation of minorities in high-tech industries to the forefront of a national conversation.

The Cincinnati-based consumer goods manufacturer (NYSE: PG) and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) partnered to host a panel discussion on strategies to combat the underrepresentation of certain minority groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields on Wednesday.

The discussion, held at P&G’s downtown headquarters, featured a panel of seven experts, two of them current or former P&G leaders, as well as keynote speaker and NACME president Dr. Irving McPhail.

The conversation focused on a big problem facing corporate America: In a competitive global market where technology and innovation are key, the demand for STEM jobs is steadily rising, but supply is not keeping up. America needs students to choose STEM careers, and there is much untapped talent among black, Native American and Latino students who often do not have equal access to STEM-promoting programs.

For P&G, recruiting a skilled and diverse workforce is paramount. P&G senior vice president of research and design William Gipson said in addition being a world leader in marketing and production, the company is a leader in innovation.

“The reason we innovate is the breadth of the backgrounds of the scientists and engineers we work with,” Gipson said.

This commitment to diversity is not reflected in the makeup of STEM jobs nationwide. Ninety percent of engineering positions in 2014 were held by white workers, according to McPhail.

P&G vice president of research and design Lourdes Albacarys said although P&G aims to hire a workforce that is representative of a diverse consumer base, the number of black and Hispanic graduates for hire gets smaller every year.

Meanwhile, STEM positions in the region are growing at twice the rate of other positions. Eighty percent of the region's jobs in the next 10 years will require math and science skills.

To combat this problem, P&G invests in initiatives like the company’s Resident Scholar program that familiarize students with STEM career options and connect them with mentors.

“The more we can demystify these careers for the students, the more powerful that connection (to STEM) is,” said Dr. Andrea Bowens-Jones, director of the Resident Scholar program and P&G research and design section head.

Albacarys encouraged parents to get involved as well by enouraging their children to choose STEM-based electives instead of arts electives like choir.

“If we don’t encourage them, they may choose the easier option and never see how much fun (STEM education) can be,” she said.

Panelist Robert Setlock took a slightly different approach. Setlock is the director of Miami University’s Project High Flight, a program that allows students of diverse backgrounds to come together and think creatively about scientific problems.

“I think the real problem is that divergent thinking is not really appreciated or valued,” he said. “The creative aspect of the human soul is what drives everything. If you try too hard to conform to any system, that’s going to compromise your soul.”


STEM Leadership Forum Event aims to attract minorities to STEM jobs

Event aims to attract minorities to STEM jobs

 Fatima Hussein  Cincinnati Enquirer, 4:25 p.m. EDT June 3, 2015

Building a broader base of creative and innovative engineers is crucial to maintaining a competitive workforce in today's global economy.

And that will be a challenge when 90 percent of the state's engineers are Caucasian and largely male, said Irving Pressley McPhail, president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, a nonprofit organization designed to increase awareness of engineering careers for minority students.

McPhail's White Plains, New York-based organization visited the Greater Cincinnati region and made a stop at Procter & Gamble's headquarters Downtown Wednesday to explain the importance of attracting minority students to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, careers.

Ohio STEM careers are expected to grow by 153,000 jobs by 2018.

"By 2050, there will no longer be a majority race in the nation," McPhail said. "Currently there is relatively low representation in the field for minorities, which can be traced to elementary and middle-school preparation."

The event at P&G was attended by roughly 200 area high school students and business leaders interested in diversifying their workforce.

"NACME has been focused like a laser on increasing numbers of underrepresented minorities in STEM," McPhail said, adding that, on average, black Ohioan students score lower on the SAT and ACT than the state and national average.

"And there is much work to do," he said.

P&G executives in attendance emphasized the importance of having a diverse workforce in maintaining their global competitiveness.

"The reason is why our brand does so well is because our products serve our consumers in a way that shows P&G understands their customer," said William Gipson, chief diversity office and senior vice president for research and development in Asia. "Our workforce needs to reflect the identity of our customers."

He added, "The business of innovation is all about solving problems. We fundamentally believe a diverse workforce does a better job of solving those problems."

Others talked about how to bring more minorities into STEM careers.

"The more we can demystify these careers, the more we'll see them (minority students) attracted to these jobs," said Denise Casey, executive director of Minorities in Mathematics, Science & Engineering.

Lourdes Albacarys, P&G's vice president of research and development, said parents need to get their children involved in science and technology when they're young.

"There are so many programs in Cincinnati for students, like the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative, that encourage students to get involved in STEM," Albacarys said. "You have to get them involved early."



Diversifying the Field of Engineering


Diversifying the Field of Engineering

An answer to Silicon Valley's race problem

(Image: Ed Eckstein)

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering—better known as NACME—may hold a key to one of Silicon Valley’s most highly publicized and seemingly intractable problems: its pervasive lack of diversity. The nonprofit, founded 41 years ago as a scholarship organization, is partnering with Hewlett-Packard to set aside funds for minority students who study computer science or software engineering.

Working with Silicon Valley is just one of NACME’s recent developments. Led by Irving Pressley McPhail, Ph.D., NACME also recently won its first National Science Foundation grant. The organization is the largest private provider of scholarship support to underrepresented groups—African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans—in engineering education. Since its founding, NACME has provided $142 million in scholarships to 24,000 students of color. And NACME scholars outperform their peers: They have a 79% six-year retention rate to a degree (and a GPA of 3.233). Engineering students in general have a six-year retention rate of 62%; minority engineering students that are not in NACME have a retention rate of 39%.

[Related: The Case for Coding in School Curriculum]

Engineering is a critical field that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will enjoy robust job growth. According to a 2012 post on, of the 15 most valuable college majors in terms of pay and job opportunity through 2020, engineering majors make up one third. The No. 1 major? Biomedical engineering; software, environmental, civil , and petroleum engineering majors were all in the top nine.

Yet African Americans make up only 3.6% of the engineering workforce and 2.6% of engineering faculty, despite constituting 14.8% of the U.S. college-aged population.

To accomplish its mission of diversifying the field of engineering, NACME employs a four-pronged strategy: pre-engineering, research and program evaluation, and engineering public policy, in addition to scholarship support.

NACME recognizes that developing the strong math and critical thinking skills that engineering requires has to start early. The organization has developed a set of materials that introduce middle school students to engineering—that explain what engineering is and why it’s exciting, asking, Have you ever wanted to build a mobile phone or design a high-tech car? The materials explain that, if you have, engineering may be the career for you. They also point out the courses that should be taken and focus on parents, kids, and middle school guidance counselors.

At the high school level, NACME has partnered with two other renowned national organizations: the National Academy Foundation and Project Lead The Way. “We’re involved in an important initiative designed to open academies of engineering across the nation,” says McPhail, president and CEO of NACME since 2009.

Community College students

McPhail, who previously led two large community colleges: Community College of Baltimore County, as chancellor; and St. Louis Community College, as president, says, “I have a strong commitment to the community college. We’re using the 51 universities in our partner network and seeking to leverage support for community college transfers.” Noting that community colleges are feeder schools to certain engineering programs, he says, “We want to incentivize that effort by setting aside a percentage of our scholarships for students who transfer from community college.”

Regarding NACME’s public policy strategy, McPhail says ,“We try to take our message to Washington, to make certain when the Congress and others debate issues of U.S. competitiveness that there’s a clear recognition that America can never reach and maintain its cutting-edge posture in STEM unless there is a concerted effort to bring more underrepresented minorities” into the field.

Software engineering

In spite of the glamour and ubiquity of technology, only a minority of NACME scholars major in computer science and software engineering. “In our most recent annual report you’ll see that about 3% of our NACME scholars are majoring in computer science or information systems technology; 11% are in computer engineering,” McPhail notes.

Yet, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, 50% of STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science related fields. So NACME is partnering with Hewlett-Packard to build a pipeline for underrepresented groups in computer science.

“Hewlett-Packard, a longtime member of the NACME board—David Packard was an original co-founder of NACME—is walking with us in a project called Go West,” says McPhail, “an initiative led by Hewlett-Packard designed to get NACME in front of Silicon Valley, which had recently been trying to hire minority workers. NACME can be a solution to their conundrum. Led by executives at Hewlett-Packard and others with my own internal NACME staff,” Go West has the goal of getting NACME to increase its financial support for underrepresented minority students who major in computer science, software engineering, and computer engineering, McPhail says.

For more information about NACME, to download its materials for middle school and high school students, or to access its extensive research briefs, go to


NACME President and CEO to Address Class of 2015 at NJIT's 99th Commencement

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NACME President and CEO Irving Pressley McPhail to Address Class of 2015 at NJIT's 99th Commencement


NJIT will confer honorary degrees upon Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D. and Charles Elachi, Ph.D. at the 99th Commencement exercises Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Charles Elachi, Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to Receive an Honorary Doctor of Science

New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will confer honorary degrees upon two distinguished individuals at the 99th Commencement exercises Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 9 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Irving Pressley McPhail, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME) will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Charles Elachi, Ph.D, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a vice president at California Institute of Technology, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science. 

Dr. McPhail was named the sixth president and chief executive officer of NACME on September 1, 2009. He joined NACME in 2007 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to joining NACME, Dr. McPhail founded and served as principal of The McPhail Group LLC. He served 15 years as a college president or chancellor at The Community College of Baltimore County, St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. McPhail also served as Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore City Public Schools. He is the co-editor of “Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices,” published by the International Reading Association in 2005, and the author of more than 50 journal articles, chapters, monographs, and technical reports. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in reading from the Harvard Graduate School of Education., and a doctorate in reading/language arts from the University of Pennsylvania as a National Fellowships Fund Fellow.

Dr. Elachi has been the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) since May 2001. Prior to becoming director, he was JPL’s director for Space and Earth Science Programs beginning in 1982, where he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration and astrophysics. He has been a principal investigator on a number of NASA-sponsored studies and flight projects including the Shuttle Imaging Radar series, the Magellan Imaging Radar, and the Cassini Titan Radar. Dr. Elachi is the author of over 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields. He received his B.Sc. (1968) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. (1968) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble, and both a M.Sc. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) degree in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He also has a M.Sc. (1983) degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California. 

For more information on NJIT’s 99th Commencement, visit the Commencement

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to

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