Minority undergraduate students at Bucknell University in Louisville, Pennsylvania worked alongside experienced engineers as they showed them what it takes to create the Second Avenue train line in New York City, CNN Money reports.
“It is really interesting to see what is going on, as an engineer,” said James Coleman, a Bucknell student who is a part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program, which tries to get minority students to stick with the sciences.
Based on footage from the video, undergraduate student Marco Valdez says he does not see any minority professors in the field.
“We don’t see the color faces of the faculty or staff that will provide inspiration showing us there are people who are like us who are out there doing the job.”
CNN reports that only 6 percent of the STEM program is Hispanic and 6 percent is Black. Engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff is managing the construction of the Second Avenue Line and has partnered up with Bucknell to mentor minority students.
In an interview with CNN Money, George Pierson, CEO of Pearson Brinkerhoff says this is important to the minorities’ future because "there are great paying jobs out there".
According to the 2009 data from the Department of Education, 43% of Blacks, 62% of Whites, and 45% Hispanic STEM students held a degree or certificate within six years after enrolling into the program.
NYC is a diverse city and to have an increase of engineer students will help the local economy. Robert K. Steel, deputy mayor for Economic Development in the Bloomberg Administration, was the featured speaker at the York College/CUNY Executive Leadership Breakfast Series on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, where he addressed a crowd with plans to grow the New York City economy through development projects scattered throughout the five boroughs.
The Bloomberg Administration feels it is important to invest in the future of NYC.
“When you stop investing in the future, the future hits the road,” said Steel, a former Wachovia CEO. “You don’t want to be one [of those cities] whose future is behind them rather than in front of them.”
One of those plans was confirmed, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cornell University President David Skorton, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie announced on December 19, 2011 a partnership to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
Project highlights show a $7.5 billion increase in economic activity, more than $1 billion in private capital investment on the site, nearly 20,000 construction jobs, an additional 8,000 well-paying permanent jobs in diverse fields, and an estimated 600 new companies providing 30,000 jobs.
Minorities have a lot of support and a bright future within engineering. Hopefully with all of the new projects, this will help increase minority participation.
Watch video at CNN.