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The Engineering Career Outreach Program, designed by alumnus Troy Alley and led by Thomas “TC” Carter, associate dean of student success, welcomed 27 students for an intensive summer transition program just before classes begin.

The program is designed to recruit underrepresented students into the engineering field and support them through graduation and placement. ECAP provides financial aid to eligible students and an academic and social support network.

The summer bridge component took place from August 1 to 19.

Resident Coordinator Jose Sanchez-Gracias of Berryville, a biomedical engineering alumnus and member of ECAP’s 12th cohort, is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Engineering Management program.

“Being part of ECAP has allowed us to be part of a family that many of us thought was impossible. Sometimes students can feel alienated for many reasons, but ECAP has allowed us all to create bonding and helping each other as we progress through our undergraduate careers,” Sanchez-Gracias said. “It’s truly amazing to see all the bright new faces in the College of Engineering, and I know they will accomplish many great things in this world.”

He was assisted by senior biomedical engineering student Samantha Garcia-Marquez and senior chemical engineering student Jose Sandoval, both of whom were part of the 13th grade cohort.

Patrice Storey, deputy director of the college’s Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, also helped.

“Jose has put together a wonderful program,” Storey said. “Students were immersed in team building, character building and leadership building activities. Their days started early with experiential learning exercises, study skills seminars as well as presentations on diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Other activities included tours of area industries and volunteer work at the historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church and the Back-2-School Drive evangelism outreach campaign. There were barbecues, movie nights, bowling and a visit to an amusement park.

ECAP students continue to meet once a month for dinner. The freshman cohort is matched with top-class ECAP mentors through the freshman engineering program.

The 27 students participating in Cohort 16 are Adrian Alcantara, Springdale; Gregory Brown, Osceola; Ximena Castro, Lowell; Alexa Covarrubias, clean room; Montavious Eason, Hope; Tania Favela-Romo, Bauxite; Shamarion Gilmore, Bryant; Elijah Driver, Fayetteville; Kenny Jabo, Bryant; Jennifer Lopez, Van Buren; Conner McKenzie, Springdale; Joel Melendez, Springdale; Tedric Mickens, Conway; Tyler and Taylor Mitchell, Little Rock; Samera Orrantia, Smithville; Jacob Ortiz, Rogers; Cristian Osorio, Jonesboro; Destanie Patman, Hot Springs; Ivette Pizarro, Nashville; Madison Prize, Alexander; Christian Sandoval, Rogers; Aaron Sims, North Little Rock; Collin Tims, Fayetteville; Isaac Torres-Medrano, Springdale; and Gabrielle Vite, Lowell.

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