The IOE department started a new initiative to broaden participation in industrial engineering by underrepresented groups, including traditionally underrepresented minorities, women, and first-generation students. A recent IOE graduate school workshop offered by the department was part of the launch of this new multi-year diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.
“This workshop is one of our first significant efforts in our new initiative to increase enrollment of underrepresented students in our master’s and PhD programs,” said IOE Department Chair Brian Denton. “Many students don’t know what grad school is like, or how it can enhance their career options, especially if they don’t have access to mentors who can help them and provide the encouragement they need to take this next step.”
The workshop brought more than a dozen students onto campus to interact with faculty and current graduate students, learning more about the IOE program at Michigan Engineering, but also similar offerings at other universities. The material focused on promoting interest in pursuing a graduate degree in industrial engineering, but also gave insights into how to be successful.
“Our workshop brought together undergraduate students from STEM programs across the country to learn about the field of industrial engineering, how to prepare for graduate school, and tips for writing a strong application, ” said Professor Siqian Shen, Chair of Graduate Admissions in the IOE department. “We did this to promote interest in our own graduate programs, but also our field. There are many great programs out there, and we hope the students who attended our workshop will apply broadly to programs and find the opportunities that are right for them.”
The event was in-person so the student visitors could have social interaction with the IOE community. There will be a shorter virtual version of the workshop as well for those who could not attend in person.
“We want to provide access to as many undergraduate students as we can,” said Professor Jessie Yang, who leads a new graduate recruiting task force for the IOE department to increase diversity in masters and Ph.D. programs.
During the event, several students shared their graduate school journey.
“I had help from mentors in my journey to grad school in IOE, so it was nice to be able to give back,” said Hannah Weiss, a current IOE PhD student who spoke about her work in the human factors area to study on-orbit inspection of spacecraft.
“I was happy to share my perspective on this very exciting field, and why graduate school may be a good fit for students from STEM fields who want to work on problems with societal impact,” said IOE PhD student Kati Moug.
Matt Irelan, the graduate program coordinator in IOE and one of the co-organizers of the workshop, is hoping more potential students will reach out to inquire about opportunities for master’s and PhD degrees in industrial engineering.
“I’ve seen students from a wide range of STEM areas excel in our programs. You don’t need to have an undergraduate engineering degree to be successful. We’re here to help students decide if an IOE degree is right for them,” said Irelan.