Poly Helps Vanguard Program Expand the Pool of Underrepresented Minority Engineering Students

While the number of jobs requiring science and engineering training continues to grow, the number of students in the United States studying for these jobs is in decline. To help ensure our nation’s engineering, science, and research enterprises have plenty of talent to carry out their work, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) developed the Vanguard Engineering Scholarship Program. With help from Polytechnic University, the Vanguard Program successfully increased engineering enrollments, improved academic performance and raised retention rates for underrepresented minority students.

The Vanguard Program is an intensive high school through university program that helps promising African American, Latino, and American Indian students overcome selection and retention conflicts they may face when seeking postsecondary education options. A preliminary assessment of the program revealed its immersion-training and aggressive financial aid succeeded in retaining students at rates higher that their peers.

Beverly Johnson, Executive Director of Poly’s Center for Youth in Engineering and Science (YES), served as the point person for NACME on the Vanguard Program. From helping select program participants to monitoring students’ progress and grades, Johnson played a critical role in the success of the Vanguard program from beginning to end. She helped establish a “community of scholars” in which everyone shared responsibility for the group’s success.