U.S. Department of Energy Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Engineering Award Winners

A team’s most valuable asset is its people.  Beyond technical and business acumen, the strength of that asset comes from their unique backgrounds, such as culture, gender, geography and socioeconomic status.  As teams increasingly embrace diversity within their team, they become more technically proficient and more likely to find the best possible solutions.

The U.S. Department of Energy Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Engineering Award recognizes individuals and/or teams who have enthusiastically and resourcefully promoted equity, diversity, and inclusion among its EcoCAR team members.

EcoCAR Mobility Challenge teams continuously strive to build more diverse, inclusive environments for their members, and this year’s DOE DEI in Engineering Award recognized two teams for these efforts.

The Georgia Tech (GT) team received the 2nd place award for their DEI efforts. The team leveraged their university’s VIP program and developed partnerships with groups like Society for Women Engineers (SWE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and e Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to increase representation on their team. Currently, 63% of its members are from minority racial backgrounds.

The team built an environment where diversity could thrive by increasing the representation of their leadership team to better reflect the college of engineering’s demographics and reaped the benefits. They also participated in and hosted many events in the community to encourage an interest in STEM fields for underrepresented students.

According to GT Team member, Sophie Ayoung-Chee, “In EcoCAR, being surrounded by more women and people of different cultures, races, and majors has been a very enriching learning experience. Our different backgrounds and experiences make EcoCAR a great community of people to be around and makes me more comfortable being on the team.”

The University of Alabama (UA) was this year’s DOE DEI in Engineering winner. The team made efforts to increase diversity within the team and promote an equitable and inclusive environment in which all team members feel a sense of belonging. These efforts included hosting events, developing a women’s resource group to increase retention, working with STEM Outreach programs that have a specific DEI focus, and celebrating people from underrepresented groups.

The UA team also hosted various workshops surrounding diversity and inclusivity. The team hosted the 2019 LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year, Dr. Arianna Morales of GM, in conjunction with an allyship workshop. The team also attended implicit bias training to address potential inequities in their hiring process and developed relationships with several engineering affinity groups that improved recruiting and extended community outreach.

Looking ahead, UA EcoCAR has exciting things planned for the upcoming EcoCAR EV Challenge such as providing scholarships for summer programs hosted by UA, sponsoring team members to attend DEI focused conferences, and creating a new STEM outreach program specific to EcoCAR. The team is also looking forward to brainstorming solutions to inequities in electrification and mobility.

Increasing the diversity within the engineering enterprise offers the greatest potential to meeting today’s scientific and technological workforce needs by building the capabilities of all people to participate and benefit from the growing global scientific and technological economy. Diversity allows us to work toward solving one of the world’s most challenging problems – developing clean mobility solutions for all. We appreciate and acknowledge all EcoCAR teams’ efforts in this area.