UCL Centre for Engineering Education


The Engineering Coalition Mentorship Programme for under-represented groups

23 August 2023

In Spring/Summer 2023, the UCL Centre for Engineering Education sponsored a successful engineering mentorship programme for under-represented groups. The programme was collaboratively designed and run by staff member Dr Sudeshna Basu and student Sree Sanakkayala.

The Engineering Coalition Mentorship Program supports BME (Black and minority ethnic) students in the engineering faculty to enhance their professional development and overall learning experiences, by facilitating their networking opportunities at multiple levels through structured mentoring schemes. The programme is primarily targeted towards students from ethnic minority background, but is open to, and has been well received by student from other under-represented groups in engineering facing different challenges such as disability  or, being a first generation university student. Mentees are matched with student peer mentors. Further, to widen their engagement in the broader scientific field, mentees are supported with mentors from diverse engineering fields from both academia and industry, through UCL’s external collaboration with AFBE-UK: Association for BME Engineers

This mentoring programme builds on two previous successful UCL initiatives, one in the department of Chemical Engineering from 2019-2022, initiated through an UCL Changemakers project led by Dr Basu. Another peer & career mentoring programme from 2021-22 was run by the Engineering Coalition societies led by Sree Sanakkayala with the support of UCL Careers. 

In 2023, the newly designed coalition mentorship programme involved 58 mentees and 12 peer mentors from across the different departments of the faculty. The mentees engaged with academic and industrial mentors from a wide range of engineering sectors having different levels of experiences via group and team mentorship sessions. As a part of the programme, Dr Ollie Folayan (MBE PhD CEng FIChemE), delivered an inspiring talk on the ‘The Ethics of Ethnic Diversity’ on the Diversity and Inclusion landscape and the place of race and ethnicity within that landscape in the engineering sector, outlining steps to help us become more equitable.