Efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity have resulted in Lafayette’s engineering programs consisting of 37% women students and nearly 25% students from underrepresented groups. The 2017 ASEE summary, “Engineering By the Numbers,” reported Lafayette College among the top 20 schools in percentage of bachelor degrees awarded to women and ninth among all engineering colleges and universities in percentage of women tenured/tenure-track faculty. Lafayette was also recognized by the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program with a Bronze Award.

“We are deeply committed to advancing an inclusive climate where all students feel encouraged and supported,” says Scott Hummel, William Jeffers Director of the Engineering Division. “This is not simply a matter of programming, but is reflected in all aspects of our engineering program from curriculum, to facilities, to opportunities for financial aid, research, recruitment, professional development and more.”

Initiatives to promote an inclusive culture include, among various others, the Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars program providing women engineering students with faculty-mentored research opportunities; support for students from Lafayette’s chapters of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to attend the group’s national conferences; major facilities upgrades to Acopian Engineering Center to create more inviting, collaborative spaces; and coordinated events with the Office of Admissions and Society of Women Engineers.

Additional highlights include Hidden Figures Week in November 2018, which featured a keynote address by Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures, and the inaugural Women in STEM Week in April 2019. Both programs featured panel discussions, lectures, and lunch talks exploring issues related to underrepresented groups and women in science, technology, engineering, and math.

The College also established the Kate and Walter Scott Endowed Faculty Chair, held by Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Lindsay Soh. This position is responsible for mentoring diverse students, including the Minority Scientists and Engineers chapter, which serves as an umbrella group for NSBE and SHPE. In addition, the College’s first-generation outreach/mentoring program recently earned the First-gen Forward Designation from the Center for First-generation Student Success, which recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. These and many other ongoing and emerging efforts reflect the College’s core values and steadfast commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.