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Mentoring the Next Generation of Engineers

Recognizing the challenges women and traditionally underrepresented minority groups often face in choosing engineering as their academic and career path, the School of Engineering has taken a giant step in aiding their success by partnering with MentorNet, an online community that pairs students with engineering professionals for email-based mentoring. Through the School’s subscription to the program, engineering students of all levels —undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D.— can sign up, at no charge to them, to become the online protégés of professionals from business, academia, and government sectors for one-on-one encouragement and advice. Junior faculty members are also eligible to participate.

Founded in 1997, MentorNet is an award-winning non-profit network striving to positively affect the retention and success of those in the fields of engineering, science and mathematics, particularly women and others who have been traditionally underrepresented. As founder Carol Muller, Ph.D., notes “Until women and people of color are fully represented in the fields of science and engineering, society is losing out on the talents of a vast number of potential contributors.”

Ruth Davis, associate dean for undergraduate studies and Robert W. Peters Professor of computer engineering, was instrumental in bringing this benefit to the students. “Sometimes educating the whole person means pointing them in the right direction to learn from others outside our institution. This program perfectly fits our mission of educating a diverse community of leaders of academic excellence and social conscience. Not only does it provide a positive, non-threatening environment in which our students can grow and thrive, but it also affords an opportunity for our alumni to reach back and assist the next generation of engineers.”

For more information, or to join as a protégé or mentor, visit www.mentornet.net.