June 7, 1976.
On this day, IUPUI's Purdue School of Engineering and Technology started its Minority Engineering Advancement Program (MEAP), an effort to encourage youth in minority populations to enter the engineering profession. According to Dr. R. Bruce Renda, dean of the school, minorities were underrepresented among the ranks of professional engineers. For example, African Americans constituted 11 to 12 percent of the United States population, but little more than one percent of professional engineers was black.
MEAP initially involved guiding selected high-school students through a six-year program that would culminate in a bachelor of science in engineering degree. The School of Engineering and Technology worked closely with local high schools to foster student education and growth. Starting in the summer, students would be introduced to four engineering fields: mechanical, biomedical, electrical, and computer science. In the second summer, students took "mini courses" to widen their knowledge. In their third summer, MEAP students would also get "hands on" laboratory experience.
The plan was for MEAP students to receive financial aid to attend university. They would also receive special counseling.
Financial support for MEAP came from local Indianapolis industries such as Eli Lilly & Company, Dow Chemical, and others.
Through the years, MEAP has been a big success, though students no longer take weeks-long courses. Today students recruited from both junior and senior high schools have a one-week-long summer-day-camp immersion experience. The program recruits female, Hispanic, and African American students to participate. Participation of diverse alumni and alumnae of SET and IUPUI is an important aspect of the program, demonstrating that there are professional engineers who look like them or come from similar backgrounds. These alums serve as mentors and role models.
To learn more about the MEAP program, look at records held in IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. Ask your questions at email@example.com.