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New Partnership with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

A new partnership between Northeastern University and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has created scholarship opportunities for highly talented undergraduate engineering students from historically underrepresented populations, including Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic Americans, and Native/American Indians. NACME is the largest provider of college scholarships for underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees at schools of engineering. Northeastern is the only university partner in Massachusetts out of 38 university members nationwide.

“I am pleased that NACME has recognized our accomplishments in increasing student diversity in STEM fields by awarding us through our university partnership the Block Fund grant. The program provides scholarship funding and so much more,” said Assistant Dean Richard Harris, director of Northeastern University Programs in Multicultural Engineering (NUPRIME). “Through its criteria for an institution to receive Block Grant funding, NACME establishes an infrastructure across universities to help recruit and retain high-achieving underrepresented students. It also helps pave the way for students to be hired after graduation by giving member companies access to this talent pool.”

Northeastern had in place several programs exceeding the criteria set by NACME for Block Grant funding and even served as a model for others. Some highlights include:

  • Summer Bridge program, where to date 500 students have participated and achieved an average GPA above a 3.0 as part of the retention program.
  • Cooperative Education program with a best-in-class infrastructure with employer partners that include many of NACME’s member companies.
  • Institutional research for knowledge sharing in the area of tutoring, Summer Bridge, and more.
  • Recruitment programs of underrepresented minorities such as the Women in Engineering Program, NUPRIME, and S-POWER which is a transfer program to Northeastern for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities without engineering programs.
  • FACT program (Faculty Advisor Communication Tool) which provides a holistic approach for academic advising and an early warning system and involves the Women in Engineering Program, the Center for STEM Education, and the NUPRIME organization—all working together to support student success.
  • Diverse student groups such as the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, the Black Engineering Student Society, the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and oSTEM (out in STEM) for the LGBTQ community.

Northeastern has matched $120K in scholarship funding received from NACME—making available $240K in scholarship funding to students, over the next four years, with the first cohort of students participating in the College’s Summer Bridge program for fall 2020 enrollment. Additionally, the college plans for other diversity scholarship funds to be redirected to increase NACME scholarship opportunities.

In speaking on the significance of the NACME university partnership, Harris said, “Long-term I see our relationship with NACME as helping Northeastern engineering raise the bar even farther above national averages on how we recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented students…and to be seen by employers as the go-to academic institution to hire diverse highly skilled talent.”


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