URI looking to bring underrepresented students into engineering

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) — The University of Rhode Island is making a push to bring underrepresented students into the engineering field.

The college introduced the “ESTEEMED” program this summer after receiving a $1.1M grant with hopes to introduce students to the world of engineering and teach them how to conduct research.

The 2023-24 school year will serve as a pilot for the program and will be available to five students.

Five students can receive a $10,000 stipend this school year that can help them focus on their education rather than working during the school year.

“It’s made [students] feel less scared to start at URI. I mean, all of these students are underrepresented in some way. Whether its racially or ethnically, they’re all first-generation college students so their parents have never been to school before” Samantha Meenach, an associate professor at URI told ABC 6 News.

“They are all from disadvantaged background so I think what it’s helping do is sort of give them the confidence to know that they can do the work,” Meenach continued.

Meenach said they’ll add another five students next year, and the program will always include five sophomores and five freshmen moving forward.

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