Director, Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED)At UCLA Engineering since 1989.
1. What does CEED do for UCLA students? for K-12 students in Los Angeles?
CEED’s mission is to recruit, retain develop and graduate students from underrepresented populations (African American, Latino and American Indian students) with engineering and computing degrees. At UCLA, we offer several support programs for incoming freshmen, transfer students and continuing students that prepare them for success in their required science and math courses, and again for courses in their engineering majors. A beneficial side effect is that these students form friendships and a peer support network, which research has shown can help students succeed. We also offer two K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs to support over 900 urban school to increase their capacity to major in these subjects
2. What progress have you seen on those goals at UCLA?
Nationally out of every 100 underrepresented students who start in engineering, only 40 graduate in engineering. Our goal has been to develop research-based retention systems to improve those numbers. At UCLA, we’re 16 percent higher than the national average. Additionally, even if they change majors, 76 percent of students in the CEED program will graduate from UCLA. Recently the CEED retention rate is at near equality with the overall HSSEAS persistence percentage. Fifity-one CEED students graduated in this past June. Ms. Vanessa Evoen won the Showman Prize for top undergraduate researcher.
3. For undergrads in the program, what’s the highlight of their year?
We have an industry-sponsored scholarship banquet where our top students are recognized for their achievement. We also hold an annual corporate round-table in the spring, where CEED students work on their business networking skills. About 150 students and 40 corporate representatives attend this event. Additionally, affiliated student groups (American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists (SOLES) each hold annual banquets that students enjoy.
4. Do you have one success story example you can share?
There are so many students we’ve seen graduate and go on into successful careers. Two examples come to mind. Mr. Chris Clark, 2008 Outstanding CS student Award winner and Andrew Pryor-Miller his roommate both graduated with honors and were NSBE leaders. Both chose career positions at Mircosoft after graduation. Currently, 9 CEED student have earned their Ph.D. and four are ladder faculty at top engineering schools. Six of the this years 51 CEED graduates have been accepted in doctoral programs at Cal Tech, CMU, UCSB, Duke, Columbia and ASU.