NACME Press Releases


Funding to Support Significant Research Project: “Success Factors for
Minorities in Engineering”

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc.  (NACME) is pleased to announce it has received an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a major research project entitled, Success Factors for Minorities in Engineering: A Study of NACME Programs. The exact grant amount is $296,482 over a three-year period.

NACME is the largest private provider of scholarships for African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men pursuing bachelor’s degrees in engineering. NACME collaborates with a national network of 51 colleges and universities that collectively produce approximately 30 percent of the total number of bachelor’s degrees earned in engineering by underrepresented minority students. On average, NACME Scholars earn a 3.3 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, and earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering at a rate of 84 percent. In 2013, NACME supported approximately 1,300 students with $4.5 million in scholarship support.

Thirty-one of the 51 universities in the NACME partnership receive Block Grants. The Block Grants average $50,000 per year for five years and are used by the institutions to recruit, enroll, educate, retain, and graduate increasing numbers of underrepresented minority engineering students. NACME collects and analyzes student performance data on an annual basis from the Block Grant institutions. More importantly, NACME holds the institutions accountable for the success of NACME Scholars.

Despite the contributions from the minority engineering programs at these institutions, there has never been a comprehensive study that takes an empirical look at how that level of success is achieved, nor one that documents the practices that account for it. NACME has a practical need to know what program and student factors combine to facilitate minority engineering degrees. The objective of this project is to fill this void by discerning the factors that distinguish the most successful minority engineering programs.

The Co-Principal Investigators for the study are Dr. Jacqueline Fleming and Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail, President and Chief Executive Officer of NACME. Fleming is an internationally known psychologist, scholar, and researcher in the area of minority student retention and achievement. She is the award-winning author of Blacks in College published by Jossey-Bass. Working at the nexus of practice, policy, and research in literacy education, post-secondary student success, community college leadership, and STEM education, McPhail is also the co-editor of Teaching African American Learners to Read: Perspectives and Practices, published by the International Reading Association.

“Engineering has long been at the forefront of the scientific community in working to develop the minorities-in-engineering pipeline and thereby increasing the share of American students in engineering education. Their support for a study of this kind, promises to refine our understanding of what works and shine a spotlight on successful programs and practices,” said Fleming.

“All of us at NACME are absolutely ecstatic about this NSF award,” said McPhail. “The insights gained in this project will help NACME shape the standards and expectations for the programs and students we support. By comparing the project findings to the existing body of research on minorities in engineering education, the study seeks to establish the degree of generalization of these success factors to other evaluation efforts in STEM education. The proactive engineering community is poised to make practical use of the insights gained in this study in the national effort to increase the representation of African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men in engineering education and careers.”

About NACME:
Since its inception in 1974, NACME has stayed true to its mission: To ensure American resilience in a flat world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

NACME Alumni hold leadership positions in industry, medicine, law, education, and government. With funding from corporate and individual donors, NACME has supported more than 24,000 students with more than $124 million in scholarships and other support, and currently has more than 1,300 scholars at 51 partner institutions across the country. NACME is also implementing a middle school through community college strategy to increase the proportion of underrepresented minority students in STEM disciplines.

About NSF:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.


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