E-Week Inclusion Initiatives Inspire Tomorrow's Engineers

By: Diana Riggs
Date: March 6, 2018

The new Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement celebrated its inaugural National Engineers Week by connecting future members to the STEM community.

Dr. Njema Frazier is in business casual wear, standing and talking in front of a projector screen that reads "Ebony Power 100 Honorees"

Dr. Njema Frazier, physicist and STEM diversity advocate, spoke to students last week.

The Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement (IECE) in the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science hosted its inaugural IECE National Engineers Week (E-Week) from February 19 to February 23.

The purpose of National Engineers Week (E-Week) is to highlight the contributions that engineers make to society and to promote the importance of learning math, science and technical skills. IECE hopes the E-Week activities will engage the Greater Cincinnati community and strengthen the K-PhD engineering pathway.

IECE kicked off E-Week activities on Monday with a discussion with Dr. Njema Frazier, a 2017 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Black Girls Who Rock (in STEM) Honoree. Dr. Frazier is a physicist with the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). She currently serves as the Acting Director of the Office of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), which provides experimental capabilities and scientific understanding for weapons-relevant high energy density physics (HEDP). In 2017, she was recognized as a Black Girls Rock honoree, along with Maxine Waters, Issa Rae, Solange Knowles and others. Dr. Frazier is the founder of the Algebra by 7th Grade (AB7G) program and is a national advisor to the National Society of Black Engineers.

A group of nine elementary-aged children cluster around two tables that have STEM activities on them

Cincinnati Public School students visited campus for engaging STEM programming.

That evening, IECE also hosted its official community kick-off reception at PRVLGD Lounge, where exciting new IECE initiatives were announced.

One of the new initiatives includes the launch of their new mentorship program, the Dream Managers program. IECE will match current students with Dream Managers, engineering professionals who provide guidance and mentorship to help students achieve not only their academic and professional dreams, but also personal development goals.

In addition to support for UC students, IECE offers outreach to K-12 students year round, encouraging students in the community to pursue STEM careers. During E-Week, over 100 local elementary and 25 high school students and teachers from Cincinnati Public Schools visited the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science. The students participated in STEM activities, toured the campus and spoke with current students and faculty. IECE also co-sponsored a Career Day at Taft STEM Elementary school on Feb. 23. Students learned about engineering career pathways from local engineering professionals and participated in hands-on biomedical engineering projects.

11 organizers of IECE's E-Week stand smiling in a row in front of a classroom and projector screen.

E-Week Events Were Organized by the Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement Team

E-Week concluded Friday afternoon with the Blacks in STEM Quiz Bowl, a Jeopardy-style quiz tournament that tested students’ knowledge of topics including Black history, chemistry, math, physics and other STEM principles.

In anticipation of E-Week, IECE also participated in the city-wide Ourstory Book Fair and Expo, a cultural heritage event held February 16 through 18. During the event, the office engaged over 300 area youth in hands-on STEM projects and activities.

For more information about IECE initiatives, please contact Whitney Gaskins.

11 organizers of IECE's E-Week stand smiling in a row in front of a classroom and projector screen.

E-Week Events Were Organized by the Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement Team