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Scholarships Provide Incentive For Female, Minority Engineering Students

Engineering is a difficult field. It's also, in the past, been a largely homogenous one.

Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology has worked hard to attract under-represented minorities and women to all of its academic departments, recently increased to seven with the addition of the Department of Modeling, Simulation and Visualization Engineering.

During Dean Oktay Baysal's annual speech to college faculty and staff last summer, he pointed out with pride that the proportion of female engineering students at ODU had increased dramatically in the past five years, to more than 15 percent. ODU's innovative Engineering Early Advantage Program, conducted for female students the summer before they start their freshman year, has helped increase the number of female enrollees.

The issue now is keeping these students, as well as students from under-represented minority groups, on their journey to success.

To help motivate women and minority engineering students to succeed and to stay in school, ODU's Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity has created the Pathway Retention Award, a scholarship for high-achieving and committed women and minority engineering students.

The first award winners received scholarships at a ceremony in late January. They are: Arsenio Evans, Anjelica Foreman, Brittany Garman, Brittany Gesner, Brittany Jones, Craig Jordan, Jose A. Medina Gonzalez, Omar E. Colon Padilla, Trevon Reid and Marcus Woody.

Students with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in an engineering discipline are eligible for the award, provided they are members of one of three student engineering organizations - the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

The awards, of at least $3,000 per student, were made possible through the collaborative efforts of Meghan Kelly, diversity coordinator with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and Bonita Anthony, assistant director of BCET's Engineering Fundamentals Division.

The cash awards were underwritten this year by ODU's Auxiliary Services, with special assistance from Todd Johnson, assistant vice president for auxiliary services.

This article was posted on: February 9, 2010

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.