Diversity Program Overview

Engineering a Diverse Workforce

The Vergnano Institute for Inclusion is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented students in engineering. Our programs are designed to facilitate the outreach, recruitment, retention, and overall success of all members of the UConn Engineering community, but especially those from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in engineering, including women, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation college students.

Broadening Participation in Engineering

BRIDGE Program

BRIDGE is a five-week intensive summer program (June 5 – August 7, 2020) designed to prepare incoming freshmen who are underrepresented in engineering fields for the rigor of the engineering curriculum at UConn. Students participate in college-level STEM classes, structured group study sessions, industry tours, and team projects and competitions. The program has a lasting impact on students, UConn, and the community. BRIDGE participants graduate from the School of Engineering at higher rates than their peers. They become leaders on campus, in the workforce, and in the community. More than 1,000 students have participated over the past three decades.

Engineering Ambassadors

Engineering Ambassadors (EA) are a group of undergraduate students who act as the outreach arm of UConn Engineering. EA Tour Guides give campus tours to hundreds of prospective students and their families throughout the academic year. EA Presentation Team members visit or host on campus more than three dozen middle schools and high schools throughout Connecticut to ignite interest in engineering and other STEM fields.

UConn Engineering tours are booked online only. Visit http://ambassadors.engr.uconn.edu and click on the “Book a Tour” link.

Summer Residential Programs

Explore Engineering

Explore Engineering is a weeklong residential program for current high school sophomores and juniors. Participants learn from faculty in the 11 engineering majors UConn offers. Each day students work at least 2 hours with their peers in small groups with faculty and college students as they create an engineering device as well as viewing demonstrations. Students choose from two sessions: June 21-25 or June 28-July 2, 2020. Program fee is $700.


This residential program is designed girls currently in 6th – 9th grades. SPARK offers four weeklong camps in different engineering disciplines: Engineering Through the Ages (July 12-18), Designing and Flying Drones (July 19-25), Coding with Arduino (July 26-August 1), and Underwater Robotics (August 2-8). Students can choose to attend one or more weeks. Program fee is $895 per session.

Igniting the Spark: Outreach to Middle Schools & High Schools

Multiply Your Options

MYO is one-day conference that introduces 8th grade girls to undergraduate and professional female role models in engineering. Hands-on, inquiry-based activities – designed to educate and excite – encourage girls to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM. MYO will be offered twice in fall 2019: on Monday, October 7th and Saturday, November 2nd. It will also be offered twice in spring 2020: on Saturday, March 28th and Wednesday, April 6th.

Engineering Your Future

EYF offers underrepresented 8th grade boys a chance to learn about STEM careers. Students perform hands-on learning activities and participate in career discussions with the help of a diverse group of undergraduate male role models and early career professionals. EYF will be held on April 1, 2020.

Pre-Engineering Program

The Pre-Engineering Program is a fun, hands-on enrichment program designed for middle school students from underserved schools. The program runs twice each year: September through October and January through February. Students spend six Saturdays each session learning engineering concepts from undergraduate role models. Students improve their math and science skills and become familiar with engineering concepts through fun, hands-on activities. Program fee is $60 per session.

Teacher Enrichment

Teacher enrichment programs aim to develop teachers’ knowledge and awareness of engineering principles, concepts and applications. The weeklong summer daVinci Project (July 6-10, 2020) introduces core engineering concepts to math and science teachers. These educators spend the week working in an engineering lab and visiting engineering facilities across the Storrs campus. Science, math and technology teachers spend six weeks conducting engineering research in the Joule Fellows Program, a summer immersion experience funded by the National Science Foundation. Fellows work alongside UConn researchers on a current research project and create a lesson plan based on the experience. Joule Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend.

Unleashing the Talent of the Next Generation

The UConn School of Engineering hosts and supports state and regional STEM competitions. Each spring, UConn Engineering hosts the Northeast Science Bowl, the largest regional science bowl in the nation, with over 100 teams from across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Over 500 high school students come to UConn to test their scientific knowledge in a Jeopardy style game or compete in a galvanic cell car race or a 3-D printing challenge. Each year, nearly 1,000 elementary and middle school students come to UConn to participate in the Connecticut Innovation Convention, a one-day statewide invention competition. The convention also gives students and parents an introduction to careers in engineering with exhibits staffed by UConn’s students and professors, helping students discover engineering and science as possible careers within their reach.