Published: Jan. 31, 2020 By

The Broadening Opportunity through Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) Center will receive a $120,000 block grant from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) to increase representation in engineering through scholarships. 

The NACME Scholars Program will provide a minimum of $2,500 to at least twenty exceptional underrepresented minority students over the next four years, as well as access to mentoring and advancement opportunities. Staff and faculty can nominate current CEAS students for consideration.

The purpose of the grant is to fulfill NACME’s vision of creating “an engineering workforce that looks like America.” They aim to help universities increase the retention and graduation of underrepresented minority students in STEM. 

The University of Colorado Boulder, the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) will honor an annual match commitment to the grant through the BOLD Center. The BOLD Center will also support student scholars with more than funds. BOLD, which provides holistic support to students through eight diversity-serving societies, tutoring, industry partnerships, and weekly community events, will provide individual advising and other high-impact practices to ensure the scholars continue to succeed.

An Historic Partnership 

The BOLD Center previously partnered with NACME to provide scholarships to students underrepresented in engineering. This funding has proven very successful—the 2014-2019 CU Boulder NACME Scholar cohort in engineering achieved a 94% graduation rate in engineering. 

During 2019, NACME underwent a large restructuring and paused all funding. Vanessa Dunn, who recently became the director of analytics, assessment and accreditation in CEAS, managed the NACME Scholars program from 2014-2019. “I’m proud that CU Boulder is connected to NACME. Their recent reorganization and renewed focus makes this a great time to be collaborating. It’s an exciting new chapter,” Dunn said.

Sustaining Community 

Kate Hiltbrand, director of the BOLD Community, spearheaded the newest round of funding and will oversee future NACME Scholars. She values NACME’s understanding of the populations that BOLD serves. According to Hiltbrand, “NACME captures the effect of history on underrepresented communities. They honor the hurdles that the student and their family have been through to be here, and create the next generation that’s going to pave the way for future students.”

Hiltbrand also appreciates that NACME ties financial assistance to opportunity and programming. “NACME wants to be giving more than money, they want to be growing and supporting leaders,” she said.

One such leader is Tanya Ennis, director of the BOLD Center. As an undergraduate engineering student at Southern University, Professor Ennis was a NACME Scholar. She’s delighted by NACME’s ongoing support.

“It’s good to see they’re continuing to support other students and I’m grateful for the support they gave me as well,” Ennis said. “It supports our initiatives to have students who are [NACME] Scholars, and so associating NACME with the BOLD Center promotes scholarship with our students.” 

The new NACME block grant adds strength to CU Engineering’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and access. Already, the fall 2019 first-year engineers comprise the most diverse cohort in CEAS history with more underrepresented minorities, women and first-generation students than previous years. New NACME funding, coupled with holistic support and programming, provides opportunities to continue building the most diverse public engineering program in the nation.  

(Alexandra) Grace Wilson is the BOLD Center Communications Coordinator in the College of Engineering & Applied Science.