A core ethos of the engineering discipline is to tackle large, complex problems of central importance to society utilizing a range of technical knowledge and skills. One major barrier to this goal is the lack of diversity in the discipline, leading to a shortage of the talent pool, reduced capacity for innovation, and it can negatively impact the educational experience of engineering students. To respond to this charge, the Broadening Participation Committee (BPart) of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering’s Design Engineering Division (ASME DED) has conducted a number of activities aimed at fostering a diverse professional community and addressing the needs of people typically under-represented within engineering. This includes professional development workshops, networking sessions, travel funds available for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and micro-grants available for parents with young children.
This paper discusses the activities provided by the BPart Committee since 2013, as well as the outcomes and additional initiatives that occurred as a result of the BPart Activities. Examples of such activities include seven professional development workshops, three workshop panels, and seven networking receptions. In the workshop participant feedback, we see some effect when there is a female presenter over a male presenter, but this effect appears to be limited. A discussion on future activities of BPart is presented in order to continue to grow and foster this community.