IDEAs Program

IDEAs Program

Founded in 1990, the Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics (IDEAs) Program was created to provide an environment of inclusion for underrepresented students by embracing and cultivating their uniqueness to impact the engineering community.

The IDEAs Program focuses on:

The IDEAs Program supports students by providing the following benefits:

  • Connection with fellow students
  • Opportunities to network with alum and industry partners
  • Success series workshops
  • Study groups
  • Mentoring


IDEAs Study Center

Located in Schrank Hall North #353, the IDEAs Study Center is a room dedicated to students in the IDEAs program. It is a quiet place to study, participate in group study sessions, get help from ambassadors, and meet with alumni/company representatives.

Speaker Series

IDEAs Alumni and company representatives are welcome to meet with the students in the IDEAs Program in person or virtually, through formal information sessions or chats. It is the friendliest way for our professional development.

IDEAs Excellence Awards

Established by Miss Kaye Rowan in 2013 for the purpose of celebrating diversity and inclusive excellence, this award is to honor students in the IDEAs Program for their outstanding academic achievement or exceptional leadership skills and community service.

Undergraduate Research

The IDEAs Program helps students connect with faculty members and opportunities to do undergraduate research.

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

The IDEAs Program supports NSBE and SHPE student chapters.

Student and graduate from College of Engineering at The University of Akron

“I love being an IDEAs ambassador because it is so rewarding to help students succeed in their classes.”

Alexander McGinnis, majoring in electrical engineering


As a boy building towers with Legos, Joshua Thomas knew then that he wanted to be an engineer. Today he is a structural engineer with WSP, an international consulting firm.

Melissa Cardew, a mechanical engineering student and member of the IDEAs program talks about her experience with how helpful the faculty and program was in her success at UA.

IDEAs Advisory Council

The goal of the IDEAs Advisory Council is to utilize the expertise of leaders across the nation to support our goals of recruiting and retaining underrepresented students into the College of Engineering and Polymer Science.


  • Everton H. Callum, Global VP and Head of HR, G&H Photonics
  • Halle Jones Capers, P.E., President, Halle's Engineering and Design
  • Michael Ciammaichella P.E., IDEAs Program Chairperson, Vice President, Civil Division Manager, The Ruhlin Company
  • Noah Klinksiek, Manager - Gas Design Distribution, Dominion Energy
  • Jane Lacy, Product Manager, Akzo Nobel Paints LLC
  • Tanya Miracle, Director, OE Truck Channel, Bridgestone
  • Michael Ramos, Data Analytics Manager, Buckeye Corrugated
  • Drake Smalley, Sr. Engineering-3D Printed Polymers and Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson Services
  • Nuwoo Smith, Commercial and Industrial Projects Program Manager, CLEAResult
  • Whittney Brandon-Treadwell, Director of DEI, Sleep Number Corporation