Engage ME! crowdfunding to support more minority engineering students

Engage ME! crowdfunding to support more minority engineering students
Monday, November 4, 2019

Chris McDaniel has a message for all UNC Charlotte students interested in becoming an engineer. He wants them to join Engage ME!, where they will get the mentoring and support to thrive in their future career.

“Our whole goal is to just graduate good engineers,” said McDaniel, director of Engage ME!, the multicultural engineering program within the William States Lee College of Engineering.

Engage ME! (Engage Multicultural Engineers), a program still in its infancy, has started a crowdfunding campaign to fund its activities, which include a mentoring program that pairs students with engineering professionals working for the city of Charlotte, Duke Energy, Coca Cola and other companies.

Designed to recruit, retain and graduate well-trained engineers, Engage ME! has a focus on underrepresented populations within the engineering field, including African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics. There are 3,145 undergraduates enrolled in the Lee College of Engineering, McDaniel said, including 188 African American students, 295 Hispanics and 10 Native Americans. 

McDaniel said he reaches out to these students directly via email to let them know the opportunities Engage ME! provides. He wants the program to help build a strong community of budding engineers and for students to draw support from one another, even if it’s just to have a study buddy.

McDaniel said Engage ME! offers or plans to offer site visits to engineering companies and professional development workshops, such as resume writing. He said the program wants to financially help students who cannot afford to buy supplies for classes. 

Crowdfund UNC Charlotte, administered by the Division of University Advancement, is an online platform for students, faculty and staff to raise money to support ventures that are important to them. 

Engage ME! is one of several University organizations crowdfunding this semester. Others include the 49er Rocketry Club, which is raising money for its 2019 NASA Student Launch Competition. In this competition, engineering students design, build and fly a rocket to complete a mission designed by NASA. The rocket the students build will be launched in Huntsville, Ala., in April. Money raised in this campaign will go toward the manufacturing of the rocket and transportation to the competition.

UTOP (University Transition Opportunities Program) is crowdfunding to pay the program’s $250 participant fee for students from low-income families. The program was initially founded in 1986 to increase retention and graduation rates for African American students enrolled in the University.