|For Immediate Release (01-67)
Date: November 27, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave
Montgomery College Helping
Students to Take Advantage of National Shortage of Minorities and
Women in Engineering
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.
- 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).
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
*According to the U.S. Census, African
Americans and Hispanic Americans each make up about 13% of the