Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Jump To: Director's Welcome | Services Offered | Student Voices | Our Legacy

Director's Welcome

It’s good to be home! I grew up in Philadelphia and launched my undergraduate and graduate career at the University of Pennsylvania studying Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. At that time, Penn was more homogeneous than it is now and minority students could easily find themselves isolated. However, Ms. Cora Ingrum helped me persist and succeed along with other academic mentors and advisors. Ms. Ingrum encouraged and supported me and had high expectations for my academic and personal success. I intend to continue and build upon this legacy.

Serving as Director of the newly named Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a challenge I welcome—a labor of love. Although this office has had various names over the years, the mission remains the same—to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) underrepresented minority students who graduate, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I am eager to maintain a culture of high expectations; implement strategies and programs that address students’ academic and emotional needs; create pipelines to recruit talented students and faculty; and develop exciting synergistic partnerships. This is my aim.

I am excited about collaborating with Penn community members and stakeholders to create a safe, welcoming space for undergraduate and graduate students to thrive. I hope you will visit my office, you are always welcome, and join me in this important effort.

Laura Stubbs, PhD

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Services Offered

THE OFFICE OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION holds at its core the commitment to celebrating and increasing the representation of underrepresented minorities in the student body, faculty, and staff of Penn Engineering. Through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Penn Engineering continues its long history of leadership in the identification, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented minority students and faculty. We enable students to optimize their talents, capitalize on their cultural perspectives, realize their intellectual potential, and fulfill their career aspirations.

As part of this mission, students are central to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s functions. A variety of programs and services are offered to assist both undergraduate and graduate students along their journey. Furthermore, we offer a space for students to serve as peer counselors, mentors, role models, and leaders in student-run organizations.

Current academic programs and support services include:

  • The Academic Coaching Program is a collaborative learning program that provides mentorship and tutoring for undergraduate students with a focus on enhancing their academic performance. Graduate students serve as coaches.
  • The Philadelphia Region National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP) Summer Undergraduate Research Program funds science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students to work on leading edge research in various disciplines for faculty members across the university. Students from local AMP affiliate schools are welcome to participate. Learn more!
  • As part of the National Consortium of Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM), doctoral students are provided a fellowship and resources for their successful matriculation.
  • Advising the following student-run organizations:
  • Personal enrichment and professional development workshops
  • Secondary school outreach programs
  • Academic counseling
  • A physical space to work, snack, print, and convene with like-minded individuals

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is located in 125 Towne Building - please visit us! You may contact the Office by calling (215) 898-7084.

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Student Voices

Reflections on Academic Coaching Program
Promise Adebayo-Ige, BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Class of 2020
“In my first year at Penn, the Office acted as a huge support system. It's nice to have people in engineering that always check in on you and care about how you are doing. In addition to that, the Freshman Coaching Program was huge in helping me become accustomed to academics at Penn. I decided to participate in this program because I wanted help studying for my first round of midterms. I soon realized that the help I was getting here was better than any help I could get elsewhere. I gained a better understanding of the subjects I was learning and I also saw improvements in my test scores. ”
Reflections on NSF-LSAMP Summer Research Program
Kemi Oladuja, BSE in Bioengineering, Class of 2020
"The Office has been a great support system to me. It's great because it offered a tutoring service to me, as well as an opportunity to get started on undergraduate research. I've made a lot of friends in the Office and even got very involved in NSBE because of it. I love the Office! It's a comfortable space. I participated in a summer research program offered by the Office because I have always loved research. I started doing research in high school, and I liked how some things were like a review of what I did in class but in the real world. But, most of the things that I learned in the lab I had never learned before, which was a whole other experience. I am in the program because I want to expand the skills in and knowledge of my field of interest. This program has really helped me to figure out what I want to do with my degree. It has even given me a view of what my post-graduate life may be like as I have experienced the job content of some people in my field."
Reflections on the Office and Academic Coaching Program
Gabriel Angrand, BSE in Chemistry, Class of 2017, MSE in Learning Sciences and Technology, GSE, Class of 2018
“The Office has mostly been a safe haven for me. From being able to find a cozy place to take a nap before/after class to having peers and adults to discuss life with, I feel that I would be at a disadvantage without the Office. This has been the place where I found the opportunity to teach/mentor in Chemistry, something I was not previously able to do. I was taken in and I showed myself to be competent; it was one of the best feelings I have ever had at Penn. This is the place where I became exposed to all of the clutch tips and stories of several NSBE members, listened in on thought-provoking conversations, etc. A large part of my social life at Penn is wrapped up in the Office, and whether that's bittersweet or not, I'd do it the same way again.”

Reflections on the Office and the Penn Experience
Aspen Walker, BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Class of 2016
“The Office was everything for me. It was the hub of emotional and academic support. I became very close with the staff, and they made such an impact on my college experience. Graduation felt like much more of a reality with their support. If I had to do it again, I would certainly go to Penn because it made me who I am today. I don't have any regrets. Some things were incredibly painful and hard to face, but in the end I made it through, had a job, and amazing friends and memories and that's what really matters.”
Reflections on the Academic Coaching Program
John Cortes, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, PhD Candidate & Physics Academic Coach
“I am a Coach for the Academic Coaching Program. It has been a great experience working with amazing students; it is very rewarding. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion gives me, as a graduate student, a place that I am 100% comfortable in and people I can talk to if needed who will better understand my problems / struggles.”

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Our Legacy

Since the 1970s, Penn Engineering has founded, developed, and implemented novel programs of recruitment and retention and has served as a model for the University at large as well as universities across the nation. In 1973, Dean Arthur E. Humphrey decided that a greater minority presence in SEAS was imperative; at the same time, the National Academy of Engineering made a national commitment to increase underrepresented minority students in the field of engineering because it was the right thing to do. Associate Dean Joseph Bordogna joined the commitment toward increasing minority presence in engineering and decreasing minority attrition at Penn. Their mission was to recruit underrepresented students - both at the undergraduate and graduate levels - into a receptive, caring, and nurturing environment so intellectual and personal growth could flourish.

In 1973, Dean Humphrey appointed alumnus Don Maynard (Ch.E. ‘74) to serve as Assistant to the Dean for Minorities. Upon Dean Humphrey’s departure in 1981, incoming Dean Bordogna appointed Ms. Cora Ingrum as Assistant to the Dean for Minority Programs. Given her interest and personal commitment to increasing underrepresented students in engineering, she was the ideal choice to succeed Maynard and serve as the first Director of the newly formed Office of Minority Programs.

For over 30 years, Ms. Ingrum spearheaded Penn Engineering’s efforts to recruit underrepresented students - both at the undergraduate and graduate level - and to provide them a receptive and caring environment where intellectual and personal growth could flourish. A few of her accomplishments are: co-founder of the Pre-Freshman Program at Penn Engineering, whic h has been institutionalized across campus; co-founder of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA); recipient of the National Women of Color Award: Dr. Helen O. Dickens Lifetime Achievement Award; and, in 1997, she was selected from a national pool by President Bill Clinton to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

Ms. Ingrum has inspired and mentored numerous students and her unrivaled legacy is firmly cemented at Penn Engineering. It is with this spirit that Dr. Laura Stubbs, current Director of the newly named Office of Diversity and Inclusion, continues the tradition of making Penn Engineering an accessible place for students from all walks of life.

125 Towne Building | P: 215-898-7084

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