LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas School of Engineering has launched a new scholarship program that aims to increase the number of underrepresented students.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the KU Engineering, Science and Technology program is part of IHAWKE, the engineering school's organization for diversity and women's programs.
University officials said the program aims to help recruit students who have potential but don't have the resources, support or knowledge of opportunities. The initiative will seek out students as young as middle school and focus on low-income and first-generation college students.
The program will hold day camps, university tours and creative engineering projects. Students will have access to test prep help, peer mentoring and internship opportunities. The initiative will also include an acclimation program where incoming students get a week of training on learning, research and study skills. A "living and learning" community will also be created for scholarship recipients.
IHAWKE will launch pilot projects this fall at two high schools in Kansas City, said Andrew Williams, the university's associate dean for engineering diversity, equity and inclusion.
The university is seeking funding support from government agencies and private companies such as ExxonMobil and IBM, Williams said.
African Americans, Hispanics and disabled people are underrepresented in science and engineering jobs, according to a 2017 study by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. While white men comprise about a third of the U.S. population, they account for about half of the county's science and engineering jobs, the study found.