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Build Your Future in STEM with Wright College – Lawndale News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education
By: Ashmar Mandou
According to the Pew Research Center study, Latino adults make up 17 percent of the U.S. workforce, but just eight percent of those working in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) job. Since 2010, there has been an increasing share of Latino students attending and graduating from college as well as a rise in the share earning a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. Latino students remain underrepresented among college graduates and among master’s and doctoral degree-earns in STEM.
In an effort to enhance the representation of people of color in the STEM fields, Wilbur Wright College curated a dynamic and inclusive engineering program, Engineering Pathways, designed for students who have an interest in aerospace engineering, bioengineering, computer science, and electrical engineering to name a few. Once completed, students can transfer to a 4-year university, increasing their access to multiple opportunities with the help of partnerships with College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Armour College of Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, both which offer guaranteed admission.
“I am motivated by all the different opportunities that are available in STEM and I want to help the diversity in the field,” said Yessenia Nicacio-Rosales, 28, who is majoring in Computer Engineering with guaranteed admission to IIT, President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Wright Chapter (SHPE). “These partnerships are significant to students because it gives students guaranteed admissions to well-known universities, such as The Grainer College of Engineering and The Armour College of Engineering. Students of color have a greater chance of attending and succeeding in these colleges with these partnerships.”
Engineering Pathways is unique in that it features small classes, talented and diverse instructors, comprehensive support, opportunities both inside the classroom and outside, as well as significant partnerships with major 4-year institutions, a component to the program that was particularly important to Dr. Doris Espiritu, who spearheaded the engineering program, and trained in Computational Chemistry at the Academies of Sciences in the Czech Republic and Princeton University, and is a professor at City Colleges of Chicago teaching chemistry, biophysics, engineering, and computer science for 15 years. “We want to ensure we provide our students with the best opportunities so that they are able to compete in an ever-growing field,” said Dr. Espiritu. “The engineering program is beneficial to students who want to pursue a career in STEM because it aims to really work with the students and walk them through the program, make sure they are doing well and make sure we address their needs whether it’s in or out of the classroom. We want our students to be successful.”
Engineering Pathways offers financial support for selected students qualified to work as engineering tutors or near-peer mentors, is culturally inclusive for students from every background, offers internship partnerships with globally-recognized companies and opportunities through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Community College Internships (CCI) program, dual advising with Wright College and transfer institution advisors, memberships in distinguished professional societies, such as ACS, SHPE, and SWE, and undergraduate research opportunities at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, and Princeton University. In addition, Wright College offers a summer program to increase the number of minority and underrepresented students in engineering and computer science. The Bridges into Engineering and Computer Science program focuses on key changes along students’ educational journeys from high school through college.
“The Bridge Program offered the summer before our first semester was a great opportunity to catch up on math and chemistry prerequisites. It offered a smooth transition into college and prepared us for the intense workload required in STEM,” said Selvin Tobar, 20, studying Chemical Engineering, guaranteed admission to UIUC, President of the American Chemical Society, Wright Chapter. “There is a large community out there that can provide support and guidance. Many Latinos are breaking many barriers by being the first to go to college or the first to pursue a STEM degree in their family. It won’t be easy but there is a lot of support and people who will cheer you on. The engineering program provides that community and is built to help you succeed.”
If you would like to learn more about Engineering Pathways, be sure to www.engineering.ccc.edu.
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