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UC San Diego pilot program aims to increase diversity in electrical engineering graduate programs

The pilot program, funded by a gift from Intel Corporation, invests in electrical engineering faculty, programs, and infrastructure at minority-serving institutions to enhance their ability to educate more students who are well-prepared for graduate studies.

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In October 2022, the University of California San Diego launched the first phase of a new pilot program, funded by a gift from Intel Corporation, to increase diversity in its electrical engineering graduate programs. As part of the pilot, UC San Diego is collaborating with two minority-serving institutions: Florida A&M University and the University of Texas at El Paso. Both Florida A&M and UTEP are core members of the Inclusive Engineering Consortium (IEC), a non-profit organization that brings together academia, industry, and government to advance education, research, and electrical and computer engineering careers. 

“With this program, we are serious about building long-lasting multifaceted relationships that give electrical engineering faculty at minority-serving institutions both recognition and support for their critical efforts to inspire, train and educate – year after year – diverse cohorts of electrical engineering undergraduates who are prepared to go on to electrical engineering graduate programs, if they choose,” said Truong Nguyen, the electrical and computer engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who runs the program.  Nguyen co-created this program with Ken Connor from IEC; and Cody Noghera, Chief Corporate Relations Officer at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

The key to creating a sustainable program is to build equitable research relationships and collaborations between faculty at Florida A&M, UTEP, and UC San Diego. The new pilot program builds on the well-known strategy of exposing undergraduates to hands-on research experiences early on in their college career. Electrical engineering undergraduate students who are pursuing their degrees at the two different minority-serving institutions will get electrical engineering research experiences at their undergraduate institutions during the academic year and at UC San Diego in the summer of 2023. In summer of 2024, the students will do a research-focused internship at Intel. Students receive active guidance from all involved faculty throughout their participation in the program. Training for internships is also included. 

“Addressing the lack of diversity in the semiconductor industry requires proactive efforts and collaborative partnerships from companies, educational institutions, and policymakers,” said Gabriella Cruz Thompson, Director of University Research and Collaboration at Intel. “In partnership with UC San Diego, Intel is committed to bridging the gap and creating a more inclusive and representative workforce, which will help drive innovation and fuel progress for generations to come.”

In addition to providing research experiences and internships for electrical engineering undergraduates, the program recognizes and invests in the electrical engineering faculty, programs, and infrastructure at these same institutions. 

Team one 
David Zubia, Electrical Engineering Professor, UT El Paso
Duygu Kuzum, Electrical Engineering Professor, UC San Diego 
Yu Hwa Lo, Electrical Engineering Professor, UC San Diego

Team Two
Petru Andrei, Electrical Engineering Professor, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Shadi Dayeh, Electrical Engineering Professor, UC San Diego
Tina Ng, Electrical Engineering Professor, UC San Diego
Kenji Nomura, Electrical Engineering Professor, UC San Diego 

If you are passionate about promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in engineering graduate programs, then this is a chance to make a difference. Help us expand this collaborative effort to support a more diverse and inclusive future for engineering. Want to learn more and make an impact? Contact Truong Nguyen at today and join us in our mission to champion these engineering graduate pathways.

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