The Cockrell School of Engineering ranks third in the nation for minority graduates

Leslie Zhang

According to a recent ranking, The Cockrell School of Engineering graduates is the third highest number of minority students. 

The Cockrell School graduated 441 minority students in the 2011-2012 academic year, 41 percent of its senior minority students according to a statement by the University of Texas. Since the previous academic year, The Cockrell School has increased its minority graduation rate by 12% according to the statement. The ranking, published by the “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine placed the School of Engineering behind Georgia Institute of Technology and The University of California at Berkeley.

According to Enrique Dominguez, Director of the Equal Opportunity in Engineering (EOE) Program, much of that progress has come from the EOE program’s initiatives. The program was founded in the 1970’s with the goal of increasing diversity in the school.

The EOE program divides its programs into three categories: the precollege category, the academic category and the leadership & professional development category.

The My Introduction to Engineering — a part of the EOE precollege program — is a week-long summer camp open to rising high school juniors to explore the engineering field.

Mechanical engineering senior Miguel Fraga, who participated in the summer camp before coming to the University, said he attributed much of his interest in the field to his attendance. 

“What really got me was when I attended the camp and got to see the campus and what engineering at UT was all about,” Fraga said.

The academic programming focuses on EOE First Year Interest Groups (FIGs), which consist of approximately 20 students, a FIG tutor, an EOE mentor and faculty member.  Students in the same FIG register to be in the same core classes.

“The FIG helped make UT feel smaller than it is,” civil engineering senior Luis Galindo said. 

Galindo, who returned to the FIG program as a mentor, said he enjoys being an available resource to freshmen.

“I am there as the person to help them to reach their fullest potential,” he said.

To prepare students for success after college, the professional and leadership initiatives include events throughout the year, such as EXPO 101 — which introduces an array of topics from “the handshake and introduction to what to wear” to the engineering career fair, Dominguez said.

To continue on the trend of increasing minority graduation rates, Dominguez said the EOE program will focus on connecting students to resources, including co-ops, internships and study abroad.