Eastern Michigan University has highest percentage of African American students in engineering and technology programs among Michigan universities

Two African American women work on a project in the engineering/technology classroom.
(EMU file photo)

YPSILANTI – Recent data published by the American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE) revealed Eastern Michigan University’s GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology is leading the way among Michigan universities with the highest percentage of African American students in its engineering and technology programs.

Chase Robinson
Chase Robinson

The percentage of African American students at Eastern in engineering and technology is 11.4% compared to the state average of 4.6%.  Additionally, the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology reports the college has the highest percentage of African American graduates of engineering and technology programs at 10.5% compared to the state average of 3.1%. 

“Our persistent efforts with programs like Digital Divas and Digital Dudes and assertive engagement with community partners like the Engineering Society of Detroit are some of the key factors for our success in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mohamad Qatu, dean of the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology at Eastern Michigan University.  

For Chase Robinson, a senior majoring in product design engineering technology, returning to in-person classes, new labs, and projects opened up opportunities to build his resume and network with other African American students. Robinson credits the National Society of Black Engineers for helping him make friendships and connections with people going through similar challenges. 

“Talking to other Black engineering students gave me resources and professional confidence, which enabled me to put myself out there more,” said Robinson. “Although I struggled to secure an engineering position, I knew what I had to do and that I was on the right track.” 

Morgan Iverson
Morgan Iverson

“My professors and colleagues were the only people who helped me talk to current employees or introduce me to conferences,” said Robinson. “If not for them, I would not have grown the great network I have now and be able to work in my respected field at a reputable company.” 

Former EMU alumni agree that involvement in student organizations and on-campus activities can help pave the way for one’s career. Morgan Iverson, an EMU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in computer science and mathematics, gained experience in various areas. 

“EMU has a lot of spaces to get involved,” said Iverson. “I was a member of the women’s track and field team, served on the e-board of Women in Computer Science and Athletes in Action, and worked as a tutor in the Computer Science Department.  These opportunities gave me experience working with people who do not think the same way as me and finding ways to use my career-related skills.”

Currently, a software engineer at VMware in California, Iverson, encourages students of color to start networking by establishing a presence on LinkedIn and connecting with peers and people they aspire to be. She suggests finding a mentor and ways to demonstrate career-related skills, like building a website or app.

Williams
Gabrielle Williams

Gabrielle Williams, a recent EMU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, said she chose EMU because it offered her desired program and was an affordable option. Williams credits her mentors who helped build her confidence in entering the field. 

“EMU presented multiple opportunities for me to gain visibility and build my network,” said Williams. “As an EMU student in the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, I was among a few students selected to visit the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, Ga.” Williams said this opportunity came to her because of her affiliation with the college. Now a design engineer at General Motors, Williams is grateful to Eastern and the support given to her throughout the engineering program.

About American Society For Engineering Education 
ASEE  publishes data annually about the number of students enrolled in all accredited engineering and technology colleges, and they also publish the number of graduates from each of these universities. More than 15 public and private universities in Michigan reported their numbers to ASEE earlier this year. 

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

October 12, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Contact:
Melissa Thrasher
mthrashe@emich.edu
734-487-4401