News from Montgomery College News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

For Immediate Release (01-67)
Date:  November 27, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970
 
Montgomery College Helping Students to Take Advantage of National Shortage of Minorities and Women in Engineering
  • Item: As many as half of all high-tech jobs go unfilled each year. (Information Technology Association of America).
  • Item: Only 21% of undergraduate engineering degrees go to women; 5.8% to Hispanic Americans; 5.6% to African Americans.*  (American Society for Engineering Education).
The yawning gap between high tech jobs and qualified applicants, even in the post-September 11th environmentR014in addition to the woeful under representation of minorities and women in the fields of engineering and mathR014adds up to an equation for opportunity.

At Montgomery College, professors like Donald Day are busy trying to make sure their students are positioned to make the most of the situation. “Any minority or woman student will find plentiful help in college, in terms of aid and scholarships, and will wind up at the top of the hiring list,” says Day, a longtime Montgomery College engineering professor.

Day has developed a passion for helping his students transfer to such prestigious universities as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).  

One of his proudest success stories is Andrea White, who found herself educationally at MC, completed its rigorous engineering curriculum and transferred to MIT. After graduating and earning a master’s degree, White began working as a Civil Engineer at the powerhouse Clark Construction Group. Among her notable accomplishments; directing construction of the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field. 

Day says his practice of motivating students to reach higher grew out of the fact he himself is an MIT grad. In answering student questions about the prestigious school, he began to ask in turn, “why not you?” Over the past 25 years, Day estimates at least 100 have responded to the challenge and gone on to top universities.

On the current scene, one of Montgomery College’s outstanding learners, Computer Science sophomore Ezinne Uzo-Okoro of NigeriaR014though only 17 years oldR014plans on attending RPI. Earlier this month, she was chosen to participate in testing at the Montgomery College Rockville Campus for a scholarship awarded by the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. MC is the only community college in the nation to host a NACME testing session. 

The defining moment for students often comes as they study a poster showing the names of the Engineering Department’s prize grads like Uzo-Okoro and White, listed with the top tier universities to which they have transferred. The poster hangs in a third-floor corridor of the Science East Building at Rockville and serves as yet another mental limit-lifter for students, who check it out, then come ask faculty advisors, “what about me?”

That’s exactly the question that could set thousands of bright minority and women students on their way to enjoying prosperous careers in engineering and related fields, while filling those professions’ urgent need for top quality talent.  
 
*According to the U.S. Census, African Americans and Hispanic Americans each make up about 13% of the population.

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