David Aragon, former associate director of CU-Boulder's Minority Engineering Program, has returned to the campus as director of the nationally recognized program, now called Success in Engineering through Excellence and Diversity.
Aragon served as the program's associate director, responsible for student retention, from 1992 to 1997. He is a 1987 graduate of CU's philosophy department and a former tri-executive of the University of Colorado Student Union. For the last two years he has worked with INROADS/Colorado, Inc., where he managed the Leadership Development Institute, a training program for about 250 minority business and engineering college interns.
Aragon returns to the College of Engineering and Applied Science with more than 12 years experience in the design, management and administration of programs to support the educational, career and leadership development of college minority students. In addition to his experience with MEP and INROADS, he worked in CU's Office of Admissions as an admissions coordinator from 1987 to 1992.
Aragon received the Educator of the Year Award from INROADS/Colorado in 1996 and the Jose de Onis Achievement Award from CU-Boulder in 1987.
"David brings a rich set of expertise in student support and a strong connection to the underrepresented communities of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region," said Michael Lightner, the college's associate dean for academic affairs. "The college is very pleased to have been able to attract him back to the program in the role of director to continue our focus on community development and take the program into the next century."
"I'm very excited about this opportunity. It's a great challenge for me personally," Aragon said.
Noting the SEED program's excellent record in retaining minority students, Aragon said he plans to continue emphasizing retention activities around a theme of building community.
The SEED program has the seventh highest minority retention rate (66.9 percent over a four-year period) among engineering institutions nationwide, according to a study by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, published in September 1999.
The program focuses on African American, Hispanic and Native American students, who are underrepresented in the college and in the field of engineering nationally.
Aragon plans to place a greater emphasis on the program's recruitment and outreach efforts in the future, while continuing to support student retention. SEED offers a "Success Institute" for underrepresented middle and high school students in the Denver-Boulder area and a "Summer Bridge" program for incoming freshmen. It also hosts IBM's Alliance of Learning and Vision for Underrepresented Americans program, which focuses on recruitment of Native American students into engineering.
Aragon is interested in coordinating activities in engineering with efforts by other programs across the campus to recruit and retain minority students.
"I'm not only excited about helping the College of Engineering, but also about how we can contribute to efforts across the campus to impact minority student success at CU," Aragon said.
Pointing to the leadership of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Equity, Ofelia Miramontes, Aragon said: "I think the time is right for a sharing of strategies for increasing minority student retention and graduation across the campus."