How do we make the field of engineering more diverse?
With engineers set to play an outsized role in 21st-century society helping to feed and shelter billions of new inhabitants, all while making up just one percent of the workforce, diversity in the profession will be a key driver to social justice and economic equality worldwide.
Moderator Anthony Kinslow II (MS ’15, PhD ’19), a lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering, welcomes guest speakers Sheri Sheppard, the Richard W. Weiland Professor in the School of Engineering and a mechanical engineer who spent years as one of the few female engineers in the auto industry, and anthony antonio (MS ’93), an associate professor in the GSE whose research focuses on equity in higher education.
Sheppard and antonio agree that the path to greater diversity begins in high school, introducing minority students to the wonders of engineering and imbuing the study skills that will be critical to their future success. But the work does not end by simply getting more minorities into college programs; it continues throughout the undergraduate experience through a reevaluation of the way engineering is taught now, and through retention programs that steer students to graduation and, ultimately, into leadership roles in industry.
Meanwhile, those pragmatic tactics must also be bolstered by other efforts to encourage inter-ethnic interactions that help to break down stereotypes, build diverse engineering teams and, in the end, lead to engineering outcomes that are more innovative, effective and more beneficial to all sectors of society.
Stanford Engineering’s Engineering for All explores how engineering can become more inclusive in education and in design. Watch the fullEngineering For All video series.
Books and articles mentioned in the presentation
- The Importance of Diversity in Engineering, Wm. A. Wulf, President, National Academy of Engineering, from the book Diversity in Engineering: Managing the Workforce of the Future, The National Academies Press
- The Diversity Bonus: How Great Teams Pay Off in the Knowledge Economy, Scott E. Page, Princeton University Press
- On Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything, Sheri Sheppard: How do we educate a new kind of engineer?
- On Stanford Graduate School of Education’s School’s In, Building a College-Going Culture, with anthony antonio
- Inspired to act? Approaches to engaging on diversity and inclusion [PDF] in the field of engineering