College of Engineering & Mines

Updates for students, alumni, supporters and constituents

Jan. 22 – Faculty Lecture by Rachel Navarro will focus on diversifying engineering pathways


The first Faculty Lecture of the semester will feature Rachel Navarro, professor of counseling psychology, who will present “Diversifying Engineering Pathways: Lessons Learned from Latinx Engineering Undergraduates and Workers,” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Education Room 7. A 4 p.m. reception will precede the lecture.

Navarro will be introduced by Beth Klemetsrud, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering and Mines.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available south of the Engineering complex.


Engineering jobs are critical to the United States’ competitiveness in the global market. A lack of gender and racial diversity in engineering is a long-standing concern based in social and structural barriers that limited access to engineering education and careers for those from marginalized groups (Grossman & Porche, 2014).

Latinos and Latinas are substantially underrepresented in Engineering with only 8.1 percent and 2.3 percent of undergraduate degrees awarded to them, respectively [National Science Foundation (NSF), 2019)]. Given the underrepresentation of Latinx engineering graduates, the engineering field misses out on the contributions generated by this diverse group of talented workers. Indeed, engineering employment is projected to grow over the next several years, increasing the demand for qualified engineers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2019). The Latinx labor force is also projected to grow with one in five workers expected to identify as Latinx by 2028 [Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, 2019]. The field of engineering may benefit by tapping into this growth to broaden participation and increase retention of Latinxs in engineering academic programs and careers.

This presentation highlights qualitative and quantitative findings from two NSF supported collaborative projects spanning 10 years that examine the longitudinal effects of social cognitive, cultural, and socio-contextual factors on Latinx engineering students’ engagement, satisfaction and persistence in engineering as posited by Social Cognitive Career Theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994; 2000). The findings are used to provide recommendations for broadening the participation of Latinxs in engineering.

Rachel L. Navarro

Rachel L. Navarro is a professor of Counseling Psychology and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the College of Education and Human Development. With a specialty in Vocational Psychology, her scholarship focuses on the longitudinal effects of socio-contextual, social cognitive, and cultural factors on the academic, career, and socio-emotional well-being of Latinxs. She is a National Science Foundation-funded investigator. Navarro is currently the chair of the Society for Vocational Psychology, a section within the American Psychological Association’s Division 17: Society of Counseling Psychology.

The Faculty Lecture Series