URI College of Engineering awarded $330,000 grant to increase minority enrollment

URI College of Engineering awarded $330,000 grant
to increase minority enrollment

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 28, 2001 — The University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering has been awarded a $330,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program to increase enrollment, retention and graduation of under-represented minority students.

According to Harold Knickle, URI’s associate dean of engineering, the College aims to double enrollment of African-American and Hispanic students in five years by initiating two new recruitment and retention programs.

The recruitment program will target students in seventh and eighth grades in the cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, Woonsocket and Central Falls.

“We’re targeting junior high students because the biggest problem that many minority students face is that they don’t get into the right math classes in junior high,” explained Knickle. “Students who decide in their junior or senior year in high school that they want to become an engineer have a difficult time in college because they haven’t taken the necessary math classes before they get here.”

Junior high classes will participate in a variety of engineering-related projects, like egg drops, rocket launches and bridge construction. Teachers, counselors and principals will also participate, and URI minority students will assist and serve as role models.

To address minority student retention, Knickle said the College of Engineering will introduce a Bridge Program geared to Hispanic students. Like URI’s existing Bridge Program for women, which is designed to transition students from high school to college during the summer before their freshman year, this new program will provide Hispanic students with an introduction to the academic and support programs at URI and provide them with student mentors.

URI was awarded the grant as part of the Northeast Partnership of Universities, which includes Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Together they were awarded a total of $2.1 million.

For Information: Harold Knickle 874-5984, Todd McLeish 874-7892