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Pitt Engineering School Implements New Program to Recruit, Retain Underrepresented Students

Pitt Engineering School Implements New Program to Recruit, Retain Underrepresented Students


The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering (SOE) is implementing a program that will help minority and disadvantaged students attain a stronger educational background and provide them with positive role models.

Building on Pitt’s 30-year history of diversity efforts, Dr. Sylvanus Nwosu, SOE’s assistant dean for diversity, created the new Pitt Engineering Career Access Program (PECAP). Beginning this summer, PECAP will work to increase the recruitment and retention of qualified underrepresented students — African American, Hispanic, American Indian, women, and academically or economically disadvantaged students — as well as promote multicultural relationships within the school.

“PECAP stems from the belief that a student’s academic preparation for engineering should begin early and must continue throughout college,” Nwosu says. “By addressing deficiencies in K-12 math and science curricula and developing skills through hands-on experience, PECAP will better prepare students for an engineering education and increase the number and quality of engineering graduates.”

PECAP will provide continuous academic enhancement in college through support, counseling, mentoring and research opportunities.

“What is unique about PECAP is that it is a total package,” Nwosu says. “It is a comprehensive educational program, which both supports and challenges students from early high school through college graduation.”

PECAP has three components — the pre-college Investing Now and Critical and Analytical Reasoning Enrichment (CARE) programs, the Excel Summer Engineering Academy (SEA) and the Minority Engineering Mentoring Program (MEMP).

Investing Now is a comprehensive college preparatory program; CARE focuses specifically on students with an interest in engineering.

Once enrolled at Pitt, PECAP students will have peer, faculty, and professional mentors through MEMP. Continuous performance evaluations will be given to ensure that difficulties are identified and rectified quickly. Participation in research projects, attendance at career workshops, team building and diversity education programs are important elements of MEMP.

PECAP also will work to address problems within the high-school curricula. The CARE program will partner with high school math and science teachers to discuss curriculum issues in public schools.

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