The percentage of underrepresented minorities in the US population has been steadily increasing since AIChE’s Minority Affairs Committee’s (MAC) beginning in 1998, yet the science & engineering education degrees earned by underrepresented minorities* increased only from 15 – 18% from 1993 to 2012. By 2060, it is estimated that minorities will account for 57% of the US population. Significant challenges lay ahead in using the rich talents of our underrepresented minorities to address our nation’s science and engineering needs in the future. Many gifted minority students with strong proficiency in science and mathematics at the junior and high school level, are sidetracked by financial difficulties, lack of financial aid, lack of family support, academic under-preparedness, and absence of chemical engineer role models.
AIChE’s Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) is a recognized leader in answering the call for excellence to address these challenges.
MAC serves as a catalyst to systematically improve technical and managerial contributions from under-represented minorities in chemical engineering. This leadership is demonstrated by:
- awarding 370 scholarships ( typically- $1000) since its inception in 1998 to deserving STEM based incoming freshmen and students who are ChE majors in college.
- Providing strong engineering role models in K-12 outreach programs designed to increase awareness of engineering opportunities.
- Addressing issues to overcome barriers which prevent attainment as minority faculty
- Expanding scholarship funding, including working with AIChE Foundation to establish $300K endowment fund to establish base level of scholarships in perpetuity.
- Increasing MAC’s visibility and improving communication strategy ( e.g., HBCU outreach program)
- Successful global initiative to establish a MOU with Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers in 2014, followed by first AIChE visit to Nigeria in 2015.
This is MAC today…dynamic, energized and answering the call for excellence.
*Underrepresented minorities in science and engineering education and employment are represented by women, persons with disabilities, and three racial ethnic groups- Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians.