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  • SE3 Racial Equity Task Group

Read.Watch.Listen. STEM Education

April 2021 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen: a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation.

Photo Credit: freepik

This month’s post explores ways to welcome more diversity into our engineering education programs and explores strategies to retain students of color through college and into employment. In our February post celebrating Black History Month, we highlighted some sobering statistics - only 4% of all bachelor degrees awarded in engineering went to Black students in 2016 despite the fact that Black Americans make up roughly 14% of the US population. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, Hispanic students, American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students are also significantly underrepresented. These trends are clear in the 2020 SE3 Survey findings.

A challenge that's often cited for recruitment of engineers is the lack of a diverse pool of candidates. We've all heard of the "pipeline problem" but don't often look beyond the catch phrase. To understand the full extent of the topic, we recommend the following article by Aline Lerner, "We ran the numbers, and there really is a pipeline problem in eng hiring".

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at


These Factors Drive Black Men Out of Engineering School - Futurity

This article summarizes a larger study, in which Black engineering students were interviewed to determine the largest obstacles they faced in completing their graduate program. For example, Black PhD students note that they struggle with difficulty fitting in with their peers and lack of support from advisers due to overt racism.


Freeman Hrabowski: 4 Pillars of College Success in Science - TED

Freeman Hrabowski, the president of University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), discusses how to create an environment where minority students can prosper, specifically in sciences and engineering. Hrabowski shares four suggestions that are aimed at removing the barrier of first year courses (i.e. “weed out courses”), which can improve accessibility to these fields for all students regardless of race or gender.


Discover Science - William F. Tate IV - University of Nevada, Reno

In this episode of Discover Science, Dr. William F. Tate IV reviews how different social determinants, including geographical location, impact a student’s success in the classroom. He draws on his experience in St. Louis, Missouri, to discuss how community members can intervene to address the structures and systems that disproportionately affect students of color.


This article was originally published in the April 2021 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.

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