Inaugural Impact Award recognizes programs at Purdue, Virginia Tech and University of Texas

Inaugural Impact Award given by ExxonMobil and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) honors university initiatives to retain minority engineering students. Pictured left to right: Dr. Carl Mack, NSBE; Andrea Ogilvie, University of Texas at Austin; Virginia Booth Cleghorn, Purdue University; Carolyn Marsh, Virginia Tech; Kenneth Warren, ExxonMobil; Franklin Moore, NSBE (Photo: Business Wire)

  • Award honors universities for achievement in retention of under-represented minority engineering students
  • Universities receive $10,000 grant for outstanding programs
  • ExxonMobil grant to National Society of Black Engineers to administer Impact award

IRVING, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Exxon Mobil Corporation and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) have announced the inaugural winners of the Impact Award, a recognition that honors universities for retaining under-represented minority students enrolled in engineering programs on their campuses.

Purdue University, Virginia Tech and the University of Texas at Austin each received a $10,000 award from ExxonMobil and NSBE to bolster their efforts. All the recipients were recognized at an event held April 13 at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC.

“As a company built on technology, ExxonMobil clearly understands the importance of supporting the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said Suzanne McCarron, general manager, public and government affairs, Exxon Mobil Corporation. “ExxonMobil and NSBE created the Impact Award to highlight retention models that are keeping under-represented students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields and then sharing those best practices with other universities.”

The Impact Award was created by ExxonMobil and NSBE in recognition that under-represented minorities together make up just 10 percent of Americans working in the science and engineering field. This number would need to triple to match the share of minorities in the U.S. population. Underlining the need for retention is the fact that about 60 percent of African Americans who start STEM degrees change their major.

“NSBE is proud to partner with ExxonMobil to create this award,” said Dr. Carl B. Mack, executive director of NSBE. “Our organization is dedicated to increasing the ranks of minorities in engineering, and we are excited to highlight programs that are helping address the critical issue of retention.”

The Impact Award recognizes collegiate programs that are not only making significant inroads in retaining minority students to engineering-related programs, but also have the ability to easily replicate the programs at other universities:

  • Purdue University – Program focuses on outreach, recruitment and retention efforts and offers support to entering freshmen as well as returning engineering students. The university has also implemented an Academic Boot Camp, which is geared toward helping students adjust to differences between high school and college and offering assistance with first-year engineering courses.
  • Virginia Tech – Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity focuses on ensuring that freshman students successfully transition to college. CEED implements a summer bridge program, freshman peer mentoring and residential living-learning communities, all of which contribute to the academic, personal and professional success of their students.
  • University of Texas at Austin – Equal Opportunity in Engineering initiative focuses on academic success and personal growth and includes First Year Interest Groups, or FIGs, that serve to assist students in building support networks with other students and faculty members. FIG cohorts also share a class schedule and weekly seminars to encourage relationship building among peers.

ExxonMobil develops and supports other programs that encourage students to develop a keen interest in STEM careers, specifically promoting the involvement of women and minorities in these industries, as well as initiatives to improve effectiveness of teachers. ExxonMobil is a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and committed $125 million to support it. NMSI was launched to improve math and science education by preparing talented students and teachers. ExxonMobil also supports ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps, Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and Science Ambassadors.