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Alumni Magazine

Celebrating 40 years of excellence

Black and white photo of MEP students attending a class. Professor stands at front while speaking.

Since their inception, the Minority Engineering Programs (MEP) have focused on developing and delivering support services that assist in recruiting, retaining and graduating Black, Native American and Latinx/e and Hispanic American students in the NC State University College of Engineering. This year, the College celebrated the success and impact of MEP with a weekend of events on Nov. 10-12.

This year’s event was a kickoff toward an annual MEP alumni engagement event, so we hope to see everyone in fall 2024. Stay up-to-date by filling out the MEP Alumni & Supporter Form:

Laying the foundation

In 1982, recognizing the hurdles that existed for Black students enrolling in and graduating from NC State, the University hired Bobby Pettis as the first minority coordinator for the College of Engineering. Pettis was responsible for recruiting Black students and increasing their graduation rates in the College. He was also in charge of the tutoring and writing assistance programs. His efforts and success in the College of Engineering served as the model for establishing African American coordinators in each college at NC State. The African American coordinator positions — which still exist today as diversity directors / deans — focus on support for all underrepresented students in each college. Pettis served as minority coordinator until his passing in 1990.

Pettis was succeeded by the following individuals who helped lay the groundwork for this program:

  • Thomas E. H. Conway, Jr. served as director of recruiting and minority services from 1991 until 1993, when he became the assistant dean for student services.
  • Stephanie G. Adams, now dean of engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, became the third director of the minority services program in 1993.
  • Wendy Blue served as interim director in January 1995 until Tony Mitchell’s arrival.
    Tony L. Mitchell led the program from 1995 until his retirement in 2011.
  • Angelitha Daniel led the program from 2011 to 2022, when she was appointed the inaugural assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Javon Adams currently serves as interim director of the Women and Minority Engineering Programs (WMEP).

The efforts of these individuals laid the foundation for a transformational program that continues to be a top producer of B.S. degrees awarded annually to historically underrepresented students in engineering and computer science.

Continuing the legacy by creating community

MEP students work on a project in a university Makerspace.

The mission of MEP is the same today as it was in 1982. Specialized programming aimed at recruiting, engaging, networking and launching students into their professional careers is the foundation of the program’s success. A summer bridge program, first-year orientation courses, mentoring, tutoring and advising of the affinity student groups all aid in historically underrepresented students’ academic, personal and professional growth before and after graduation.

Four decades later, the College continues to increase the number of underrepresented students enrolling. For 2023-24, the percentage of first-year students identifying as Black, Latinx/e and Hispanic American, Native American and Pacific Islander is 17.6 percent (up from about 10 percent a decade ago). Over the last four years, MEP’s programs and partnerships have been updated to cater to the whole student and ensure they have a place that welcomes and embraces them as family.

Time to celebrate: MEP40 celebration weekend

In 2023, the College of Engineering marked 100 years of service to the state of North Carolina. The College commemorated the Minority Engineering Programs during the MEP 40th Anniversary Celebration Weekend held Nov. 10-12. In celebrating our past, present and future, we hosted alumni, current students and community partners for a MEP Family Reunion and honored our past and current MEP leadership at the MEP 40th Anniversary Gala.