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UCI Awarded $5M NSF Grant to Boost Low-Income Engineering Enrollment

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Aiming to increase the number of low-income engineering students specializing in advanced manufacturing, University of California, Irvine has won a $5 million U.S. National Science Foundation grant that will provide scholarships to 190 community college transfer students.

"We're excited to launch the UC Irvine Pathways to Engineering Collaborative, which will train, mentor, and tutor dozens of talented men and women as they study engineering at Irvine Valley College and UCI," says project leader Lorenzo Valdevit, associate professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering.

Under the program, each participating undergraduate will receive up to $10,000 annually over five years. In addition, researchers from UCI's School of Education will try to identify the factors that lead low-income community college students to pursue engineering degrees.

"I am delighted that the National Science Foundation is recognizing UCI's innovative efforts to support transfer engineering students," says Chancellor Howard Gillman. "With this important grant, 190 talented young engineers will be able to achieve their dreams of a world-class education in advanced manufacturing."

Valdevit, who directs the campus's Institute for Design & Manufacturing Innovation, notes that the UC Irvine Pathways to Engineering Collaborative will benefit U.S. employers as well. "In today's global economy, it's crucial to expand and diversify America's manufacturing workforce, and this program will help accomplish that goal," he says.

Co-leaders on the project are Sharnnia Artis, assistant dean for access and inclusion at UCI's Henry Samueli School of Engineering; Jacquelynne Eccles, Distinguished Professor of education at UCI; Matthew Wolken, chair of IVC's department of mathematics, computer science & engineering; and Zahra Noroozi, IVC engineering instructor.


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