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Center for Diversity in Engineering
Outreach Programs

The Center for Diversity in Engineering (CDE) provides support services and orientation experiences for middle and high school students throughout the state of Virginia to increase interest in engineering among those who are traditionally underrepresented in engineering and the sciences.

CDE volunteers and faculty throughout each of the Engineering School´s nine departments participate in these outreach programs, which include:

  • Introduction to Engineering, a one-week summer residential program.
  • Juntos Podemos is an overnight program for high school students organized by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
  • The National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) provides volunteers for the Charlottesville organization Computers4Kids.
  • The Science, Engineering, Communication and Mathematics Enrichment (SECME) program, which helps historically underrepresented and differently-abled students enter and complete post-secondary studies in science.
  • Society for Women Engineers (SWE) organizes the High School Visitation program, in which local female junior and senior high school students explore majors and careers in engineering, and offers local Brownies or Girl Scouts a special Science in Action badge when they introduce the girls to engineering.
  • Tutoring programs for local high schools in math, science and pre-engineering.

“These programs do an outstanding job in terms of introducing students to the field of engineering,” says Carolyn Vallas, director of the CDE. “A number of students have gone through the Engineering School because of their involvement in these early education initiatives.”

A new program, Research Experience for Teachers, is enabling the CDE and faculty throughout the School to impact the future of K-12 engineering education. Through this innovative program, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, teachers from local school districts come to Grounds to study with U.Va. Engineering faculty, who teach them about new concepts in engineering in hopes that the teachers will spread this knowledge once they return to their schools. In its first year, Research Experience for Teachers is focused on nanotechnology; through this program, Engineering School faculty involved in nanotechnology research are working to educate younger generations about the growing field and its unlimited implications. This program supplements U.Va. Engineering faculty's ongoing efforts serving on panels and hosting student visitors throughout the year.

To learn more about the programs and services offered by the Center for Diversity, please visit: