Office of Minority Education

The mission of the Office of Minority Education (OME) is to provide effective academic enrichment programs to enhance matriculation, promote higher retention and greater excellence in underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic, and Native American) students' academic and general educational achievements, and to encourage their pursuits of higher degrees and professional careers.

This year, the OME continued to provide underrepresented minority students with a cadre of academic enrichment programs designed to enhance student's opportunities to succeed at MIT. There are approximately 700 or 17 percent underrepresented minority students out of approximately 4,200 undergraduate students attending MIT. The faculty, staff, and students of the OME continued to heighten their visibility, accessibility, and increased the quality of services offered to the underrepresented students. The staff of the OME continued to participate in an array of Institute committees, programs and other initiatives during 2002–2003 academic year.

Project Interphase

Project Interphase (PI) is one of MIT's major commitments to students of color to ensure their academic and social success at MIT. PI is a rigorous seven and half week residential, academic enrichment, confidence and community building program for admitted freshmen who will benefit from support in their transition to MIT. Project Interphase is designed to provide academic support as well as community building opportunities, in order to enhance matriculation and promote success in participants, both underrepresented minorities and other students.

This year's academic staff of tenured faculty and instructors, with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students, made up the teaching core of Project Interphase. Faculty and tutors are major contributors in preparing students to face the rigors of MIT. Through teaching, advising, and serving as mentors, they fulfill an invaluable role in the intellectual development of the program participants. Project Interphase alumni/ae represent a high percentage of the tutor core for the academic component of the program.

The academic metric for Project Interphase focuses on how many students receive advance placement for calculus and how many of the participants receive academic warnings in the first year. A number of students were successful in receiving advance placements credits for 18.01. We still see a small cohort of students who receive warnings during the fall semester. At the end of the fall semester, nine students received some type of academic warning.

Seminar XL

This year, Seminar XL continued to be an effective academic enrichment program for first year underrepresented minority and nonminority students. Participants who enrolled in the program were divided into small interactive study groups that covered Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and other freshmen core courses. These groups met twice a week for one and a half hours during the fall semester as well as the spring semester. All study groups were coordinated by XL facilitators who are current upperclass and graduate students. Facilitators oversee the interactive discussion of course materials covered in the respective subject of Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry.

Tutorial Service Room

The Office of Minority Education's Tutorial Services Room continued to provide effective academic support to a broad range of underrepresented minority and non-minority students. The TSR is managed by a core of upper-class students who receive close supervision by the associate dean/assistant director. The OME employed over 50 tutors from an array of ethnic backgrounds and disciplines to tutor in over 40 courses. The associate dean/director, in conjunction with the associate dean/assistant director, interviewed, hired and trained tutors and staff for the program. To ensure quality control in the program, the director verified all tutors' academic records. This year, tutors conducted tutorials sessions in courses from 13 departments as well as the core freshmen curriculum for the fall and spring semesters. Women continue to utilize the resources of the TSR at a higher rate than men. At present, women accounted for 65 percent of the TSR users for the academic year of 2002–2003.

Second Summer Program

For over 30 years, the Second Summer Program (SSP) has balanced MIT's academic rigors with hands-on experiences in an array of engineering and science disciplines at participating Fortune 500 Companies. SSP is an academic program that enriches and supports students' intellectual growth while assisting them to develop a keen sense of their possibilities. Program interns explore possible fields of interest, while making a real contribution in their assigned workplace.

The stagnant economy was the biggest challenge to the Second Summer Program this year. The OME received 40 applications from participants who attended 3 OME sponsored orientation sessions. In addition, students were required to participate in the Program's Engineering Design Workshop taught by Professor Alexander Slocum from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

This year, SSP participants were divided into teams, and each team was required to design and build a device/game for children. They had to conceptualize their ideas regarding the product, research the market to identify similar products, develop a consensus on the product utilizing the Rube Goldberg method, build a prototype and review its functionality, and then build the final product for the competition. In addition each team developed a market analysis, conducted research on the product, and provided a business plan. Representatives from industry and members of the faculty judged the competition.

After completing the SSP Engineering Design Workshop, participants entered an intense interviewing process with companies that are members of the OME's Industrial Advisory Council for Minority Education (IACME). Eleven of the 40 students were selected for internships. Several of the participating companies that focused on recruiting Electrical Engineers and Computer Science majors were involved in a hiring freeze and were unable to take students from the program, thus accounting for the relatively small number of internships this year. Faculty continued to strengthen their partnership with the OME/SSP by volunteering to visit with interns on sight.

Industrial Advisory Council for Minority Education

The purpose of the Industrial Advisory Council for Minority Education is to provide a variety of opportunities to participate in the realization of the OME's goals.

To that end, members of IACME provided financial support for the OME to provide effective academic and professional development programs to assist student organizations such as: American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Members of IACME supported students' participation in cultural organizations by providing financial support to those organizations that promote improving the quality of life of students of color. During the academic year 2002–2003 IACME supported numerous events that covered personal, group and professional development.

In addition, members of IACME formed a subcommittee to develop a curriculum for Leadership Development for minority students in engineering and science. The focus of the committee is to provide a day and half training module for students who are in leadership roles or for students who have demonstrated leadership potential in their organizations.

Office of Minority Education Student Advisory Council

Office of Minority Education Student Advisory Council (OMESAC) was created to provide a mechanism for minority students to bring their concerns and issues to the associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the OME. The membership of OMESAC includes 16 student organizations that represent both professional and cultural focused organizations. This year, OMESAC was able to articulate its concerns about the structure, focus, and operation of Campus Preview Weekend as it related to the recruitment of minority students. OMESAC was able to bring several concerns to the senior leadership, which resulted in more involvement of students of color throughout the planning process of CPW.

Minority Scholarships

The OME continues to be a repository for information for internships and scholarships that target underrepresented minority students. Many companies and foundations continue to focus support on underrepresented minority students. Their goal is to continue to provide financial and professional support to increase the number of students of color in the engineering and science professions.

Minority Awards Banquet

The Office of Minority Education held its 28th Annual Minority Awards Banquet at the end of the 2001–2002 academic year. The Awards Banquet was supported by the generosity of IACME but also supported by the OME, the Counseling and Support Services, the Graduate Education Office and the Office of the President. Over 200 students, faculty, staff and administrators attend the event to recognize students who had contributed to improving the quality of life for minority students. This year keynote speaker was Professor Rafael Bras, past head of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineer and the incoming chair of the faculty.


After a year with the Office of Minority Education, Kim Beamon's title of assistant dean/assistant director was changed to associate dean/assistant director.

Gail-Lenora Staton, financial officer for the OME, was nominated and selected as one of this year's Black Achiever Awardees at MIT. Ms. Staton and Roy Charles of the Graduate Student Office were recognized for their contributions to the MIT community.

Marlisha McDaniels and Milagros Oquendo-Morales were nominated and selected to receive DUE's Infinite Mile Award for their outstanding effort and work to improve the quality of life for minority and nonminority staff and students.

Margarita Ascencio has provided support and services to address unmet needs of the Latino community. In addition, she has provided guidance to the student advisory council for the new Latino Cultural Center.

The associate dean/director of the OME has provided both financial and staff support to assist the Latino Cultural Center in developing a budget and staffing structure to ensure the center's viability.

The OME hosted the fourth annual NASA RISE Summer Institute that brought eight students from historically black colleges and universities. Colleges represented in the program were Lincoln University, Coppen State, Purdue University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Southern University, and Bethune-Cookman College.

The OME continued to support its partnership with NASA through its Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and the RISE Summer Institute, which are designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in the pipeline to address a shortage of engineers and scientists in this country.

We collaborated with the Academic Resource Center to increase the number of minority faculty and administrators participating in the Freshmen Advising Program.

The OME worked closely with the Counseling and Support Services in assisting minority students who were voted a required withdrawal by the CAP. In addition, we played a pivotal role in the readmission of minority students who returned from either a leave of absence or a required withdrawal.

Leo Osgood, Jr.
Associate Dean and Director

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