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Education

UA Engineering Celebrates Success of Diversity Initiatives with New Podcast

The new University of Akron podcast, hosted by mechanical engineering graduate Ebanee Bond, begins with the episode "Rise of the Black Engineer in Akron."
University of Akron
The new University of Akron podcast, hosted by mechanical engineering graduate Ebanee Bond, begins with the episode "Rise of the Black Engineer in Akron."

One of the signature programs at the University of Akron has been its College of Engineering. And for decades, the school has sought to recruit a diverse student body. Now, it’s launched a new podcast to highlight that history and its impact.

The five-part “Diverse Engineering” podcast commemorates the 30th anniversary of UA’s “IDEAs” initiative, which stands for “Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics.”

Heidi Cressman, director of diversity for the College of Engineering and Polymer Science, hopes the podcast helps expand the mindset of prospective students and business leaders.

"If you don't have these experience, you become ignorant. And the goal of education is to produce people that have the ability to think critically and think with an open mind. And you can't do that if everybody is exactly the same."

Cressman also says business leaders have found that that hiring people from under-represented communities makes good business sense.

“It's important to innovation. If you have the same group of people -- and they're all the same and they're trying to come up with an idea for anything -- if they're all thinking in the same mindset, it's not going to change anything. But if you get diverse ideas around the table, we all know that that always leads to better ideas, higher profits, and so on."

The first episode, “The Rise of the Black Engineer in Akron,” includes a look at the career of Harry Holcombe, UA’s first black engineering graduate who went on to a successful career with General Motors.

Holcolmb composite.jpg
Harry Holcombe was featured in The College of Engineering's Fall 2014 alumni newsletter.

The entire "Diverse Engineering" podcast, hosted by Ebanee Bond, is available here.