Penn State professor to head new National Academy of Engineering committee

August 18, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Christine Cunningham, professor of practice in Penn State’s College of Education and College of Engineering, has been named chair of a newly established National Academy of Engineering (NAE) committee titled Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable Engineering for All (IDEEA).

IDEEA aims to nurture the engineering aspirations and talents of K-12 youth from marginalized populations, Cunningham said. It will envision and oversee NAE outreach programs designed to engage youth, their educators, their families and their communities in engineering. Such opportunities can inspire diverse youth to consider careers in engineering and broaden participation in societal decision-making, which can generate more creative solutions to problems. 

During the initial year, Cunningham is chairing a committee of 13 experts appointed by NAE President John Anderson. The committee will develop frameworks, programming, deliverables and metrics to guide its subsequent work. 

Cunningham said that the committee will gather and distill best practices for engineering programming with minoritized youth and communities. It also will identify organizations whose work aligns with these practices.

“We hope to collaborate with such trusted community partners to amplify their efforts,” she said. 

Cunningham, who has previously served on three National Academies committees, said she is pleased to assume the prestigious role.

“It's always a great honor to serve on a National Academy committee. NAE is highly respected and has such power to convene thought leaders to provide national leadership on important issues,” she said. “The IDEEA committee members bring an amazing array of knowledge, experiences and networks to our efforts to create equitable and inclusive engineering NAE programming.”

The work of the NAE dovetails with current initiatives throughout the College of Education and the College of Engineering that are keenly interested in creating equitable educational environments for all learners, Cunningham noted.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 20, 2021