The College of Engineering Diversity Office provides funding to individual students participating in student organization activities and to student organizations that play a critical role in building community and enhancing the educational experience. In an effort to ensure that funds are allocated in a fair and equitable manner, the office accepts funding requests from students and minority student organizations in the early part of each academic semester. Student organization events that receive financial support from Diversity Office will propose activities that offer the greatest benefit.
To be eligible to receive funds as an individual, a student must hold official membership in the organization. Eligible organizations are those officially recognized by the College of Engineering and their national umbrella organizations (if applicable).
Because funding is limited, it is impossible to fully fund each request. Over the years, a set of criteria has been developed for the award of funds. Generally, the Office’s budget is reserved to support activities that could not go forward without the funding. General categories of such activities include speaker events open to the entire engineering community, community service projects, activities likely to enhance the educational experience of members of the student organization and/or a fairly significant sector of the minority engineering community, activities which provide opportunities for students to develop professional skills, unusual opportunities to learn more about the profession, and activities which promote a greater interaction, in a professional context, among members of different engineering school organizations or with alumni.
Other considerations include the size of the organization, its total anticipated budget for the academic year, amount of carry-over funds from the previous year, and the Diversity funds allocation for the year at issue. Given the limited funding, money for food, honoraria, recreational activities, and travel have become increasingly limited. None of the allocated funds may be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Educational Programming – Funding preference will be given to panels and speaker events that further education outside the classroom, help students make informed decisions about career choices, and provide opportunities for students to share aspects of their culture and life experience with the engineering college community. Social mixers and networking programs will receive financial support on a limited basis.
Competitions – Engineering teams are eligible for financial assistance for registration fees, and reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. Competitors are required to report the results of the competition to the Minority Student Recruitment and Retention Coordinator.
Student Travel – Limited funds are available for reasonable travel expenses to conferences, national meetings, and special events. Students are expected to seek supplemental support and sponsorship from other sources.
Registration Fees – Limited funds are available for registration fees associated with conferences, retreats, etc. Student participants are required to share what they learn with their respective organizations and the engineering school community.
Speaker Expenses – Depending on availability, funds may be available for reasonable honoraria, travel, accommodation, and meal expenses incurred by out-of-town speakers.
Organizational Meetings/Food – Depending on availability, funds may be awarded for expenses related to organizational recruitment meetings. Limited funds may also be available for reasonable expenses related to lunch events. University funds may not be used directly or indirectly for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. Funds raised by student organizations may be used to defray the cost of hosting events.
Minority organizations that wish to receive full consideration for funding from the Minority Student Recruitment and Retention Coordinator complete the online funding request form by the designated deadline each fall term.
Funding Fall Deadline – November 15 – Funding requests are limited to events and activities. All funds awarded during this cycle are taken into account during the academic year budgeting process.
Funding Spring Deadline– March 15 – Funding requests is limited to events and activities. All funds awarded during this cycle are taken into account during the academic year budgeting process.
Funding will be limited and based on availability.]]>
Look at Douglas-Prawl’s resume and it’s no surprise why America’s top technology companies are vying for him. The University of Rhode Island computer engineering student developed two apps, interned for Electric Boat, garners outstanding grades and serves as president of the National Society of Black Engineers URI chapter. He also works at the University’s computer Help Desk and plays rugby.
“I like advancing myself and moving forward,” Douglas-Prawl, 20, says. “Being involved is a way to do that.”
Arriving at URI in September 2011, Douglas-Prawl found a home in engineering. The courses focusing on the intersection between computer hardware and software appealed to the Stamford, Conn. resident. His professors challenged him and the freshman Engineering Living and Learning Community provided him a support group and circle of friends.
Douglas-Prawl soon found himself fascinated by the rise of mobile computing and wearable devices. By junior year, he was teaching himself to code mobile apps for Google’s Android platform. One app calculates restaurant tips. The other allows users to access all their cloud-stored files in one place regardless of whether they are stored on Google Drive, Dropbox or similar service.
For Douglas-Prawl, it’s only the beginning.
“Everyone uses computers so if you invent a new thing everyone is going to use it,” Douglas-Prawl says. “Just knowing that you might invent the next big thing, that’s the fun part.”
Douglas-Prawl started toying with computers around age 9. Frustrated by the slow Internet speeds of his family’s dial-up connection, Douglas-Prawl began looking under the hood. By age 13, he was building computers. By high school, he was attending the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering in Stamford.
It was at the academy that Douglas-Prawl found URI. During an engineering college fair his sophomore year, his guidance counselor introduced him to Charles Watson, the College of Engineering’s minority student recruitment and retention coordinator. After speaking with Watson, Douglas-Prawl put the school on his radar. When he saw Watson again his junior year, he liked what he heard about the engineering program and the beautiful campus. He applied, won a University Fund Grant and matriculated.
Four years later, he’s on the cusp of graduating. When he does, he’ll be the first in his family to graduate college. He’s currently waiting to hear back from Microsoft and Google.
If it doesn’t work out, Douglas-Prawl has a fallback: bootstrap a tech startup and have it acquired. If his four years at URI are any indication of his future success, that shouldn’t be hard.]]>
With funding from the URI Water Resources Center, Bradshaw and his students conducted a series of tests at the 3,000-foot-long, 109-foot-high dam, which parallels Scituate Avenue (Route 12) in Scituate and is operated and maintained by the Providence Water Supply Board. Their analysis thus far suggests that the 88-year-old dam could withstand, with minimal damage, the region’s most likely earthquake scenarios, which include a magnitude 5 earthquake nearby the dam and a magnitude 6.8 earthquake 125 kilometers away.
“Back when it was built, engineers may not have had the technology we have now, but they certainly had the knowledge and the quality of workmanship, and we’re seeing their impressive structures,” Bradshaw said.
The URI professor’s study was the first time the Gainer Dam had been evaluated for its resilience to earthquakes. When Bradshaw and graduate students Christopher Norton of West Haven, Conn., and Bivian Reyes of the Dominican Republic approached the agency about conducting the study, officials saw it as a rare opportunity.
“Looking at what’s downstream and the significance of this dam, we thought it would be prudent for Dr. Bradshaw and his students to conduct their analysis,” said Peter LePage, senior manager of engineering at the Providence Water Supply Board.
Agency officials and Bradshaw’s team were especially concerned about the potential for liquefaction in the soils comprising the dam. The shaking from an earthquake can cause loose saturated sands to lose their strength. This scenario could cause the dam to breach.
Bradshaw and his students could not easily bore into the dam to check the density of the soil. Instead, they turned to Gopu Potty, URI associate research professor of ocean engineering, who had perfected a system of using ground sensors called geophones and a heavy weight to eliminate the need for soil samples. By setting up the geophones and striking the ground with a 100-pound weight, they could monitor the vibrations traveling through the earth to analyze the soil conditions.
Bradshaw said the method holds promise for dam owners to screen for possible problems and learn if further soil testing and analyses are needed. The geophones and computer analysis are less intrusive and disruptive to the dam.
“You can think of it as a good first step,” Bradshaw said. “If the results look good, we may not need to do more.”
The research will serve as a blueprint for future studies at the Gainer Memorial Dam, as well as at least one doctoral thesis at URI.]]>
You can complete the application form by following this link:
Application form for Summer Engineering Program 2015
If you have any questions, please email the program director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in the program.]]>
For more than 20 years, the University of Rhode Island chemical engineering professor emeritus has orchestrated a summer program to bring engineering into the high school classroom. Targeted at students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, the program has touched more than 500 young people and sent at least 100 to URI engineering programs.
“If you want to increase the number of diverse students in engineering, you have to start at a lower level than 12th grade,” Knickle says.
Knickle visits students during the weeklong program and talks engineering fundamentals. He often takes a demonstration in tow and then brings the show on the road to local engineering facilities and the URI Kingston campus. On campus, students don lab coats, conduct lab experiments and tour campus. The URI Water Resources Center pays for the transportation, supplies and staff to ensure students can attend regardless of their finances.
For the past few years, the program, now known as the Clean Water Academy, has served students at Times Squared Academy, a charter school in Providence, R.I. that specializes in teaching science and mathematics. Science teacher Mark Fontaine says the program marked many students first time on a college campus.
“We get kids on a college campus doing research,” he says. “That’s huge, especially for inner-city high school students who don’t always have that opportunity.”
One student, Brianna Geyer, of Providence, derived a science fair project from the program. With the help of Knickle, she studied water filtration systems and their deployment in developing nations. Her project garnered second place at the Times Squared science fair.
Her classmate, Keyla Batista, of Providence, participated in the program for three years and hopes the experience delivers an edge during the college admissions process.
“This experience I put at the top of my resume,” she says. “It’s a win-win. You learn science and you get an advantage.”]]>