Multicultural Engineering Program Gives Voice to Underrepresented Students

For the last 27 years, the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) has worked to create a more inclusive community at Mines by providing resources to under-represented students in engineering. By supporting these students, the MEP helps to foster campus diversity.

MEP supports five professional societies. Including American Indian Science and Engineering Society, National Society of Black Engineers, oSTEM, Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

“Diversity is a broad term and covers everything from gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual identity, disability status, educational level, veteran status, and many more categories of how we all identify ourselves,” explained Andrea Salazar Morgan, director of MEP.

MEP focuses on supporting all different types of students.

“The mission of the Multicultural Engineering Program is to provide support that contributes to the recruitment, retention and graduation of historically under-represented students, and to provide professional development for students, staff and faculty at Colorado School of Mines,” Morgan stated.

MEP fosters diversity at Mines by providing a number of different resources for students. They partner with other organizations like CASA, the Career Center, and Residence Life in order to support students in a variety of ways, including tutoring and professional development.

“We host a New Student Workshop for incoming freshman and transfer students, a spring Professional Development Retreat, and a Leadership Retreat for new officers of the MEP professional societies,” Morgan said.

Additionally, the MEP Office provides a space for students to study, host meetings, and socialize. It is also home to the Campus Prayer Room.

This support for under-represented students has contributed to the steady growth of diversity on campus. Since 2011, the number of ethnic and multi-racial students enrolled at Mines has increased by 2.8%.

To encourage even more under-represented student participation in engineering, Morgan suggested that programs reach out to elementary school students to spark their interest in STEM-related careers.

“Students that are historically under-represented in STEM need role models that look like them and have similar backgrounds to help educate them on how to prepare for college, how to manage their extra-curricular commitments and still be academically motivated, and to guide them through the process of narrowing down their educational interests,” Morgan explained.

“Engaging with people from different backgrounds than our own enriches our learning, allows us to approach challenges from other perspectives, and provides an opportunity for students to prepare for working in a global community,” she said.

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