The National Science Foundation (NSF) posits that “a diverse and capable workforce is vital to maintaining the nation’s standard of excellence in STEM” and illustrates its commitment to expanding opportunities in STEM to people of all racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and to persons with disabilities through a robust broadening participation portfolio.
On the heels of the National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century report, Dr. Gary S. May, Chancellor at the University of California, Davis placed a 15th Grand Challenge before the scientific community: The Diversity Challenge. Diversity, asserted May, “is at the root of innovation and technological advancement. The greater diversity we have in engineering…, the more likely we are to make discoveries and solve problems. A wide mix of backgrounds, experiences, and ideas helps make this happen.” Meeting the Diversity Challenge will require opening the doors of opportunity to a broader array of individuals and groups than ever before.
The eFellows program strives to identify, recruit, and support high-performing applicants from historically underrepresented groups in STEM. In doing so, the eFellows program is increasing diversity and broadening participation in STEM. The eFellows program supports innovative, impactful research that might otherwise slip through the cracks and features two cohorts of engineering researchers representing diverse demographics, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
eFellows to me means opportunity and I believe it’s a program that should be continued to further aid minoritized professionals to break through some of these institutions and to become and to fulfill their potential as high-achieving individuals, and to break barriers into academia on the national [level] system and even industry so we can all become teachers to those around us.
It's important to my community, my culture, to see representation in spaces where appearances are rare. This program has opened my world to new opportunities, opportunities that have added lanes to my career path. I'm moving in multiple directions that are shaping my future.
In my quiet moments, I often think about how participating in this program has introduced me to people whose words I genuinely admire and appreciate. As I advance my career, I’m hopeful that I can continue to do the same for others but on a wider scope… As I look towards diverse employment opportunities, I am hopeful that my next professional step will allow [me] to utilize the skills that I gained during my eFellowship. I’m hoping to see more scholars that look like me within the field of engineering education.