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Center for Engineering Diversity

The Center for Engineering Diversity (CED)


Established in 1975, the Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) exists to assist The Viterbi School of Engineering in the recruitment, retention and graduation of our historically underrepresented (African-American, Latino, Native American and female) students pursuing engineering degrees.

Partnering with the Viterbi Admission and Student Affairs division, industry, and alumni affords CED the opportunity to provide a supportive environment that prepares students academically, professionally, and personally for success as professional and academic engineers.  Open to all students with an interest in diversity, CED fosters a community of scholars focused on excellence through connecting students to industry, faculty and student peers.

CED welcomes all students with an interest in being a member of a diverse community.  CED students have 24 hour access to “The Center” which includes an HP computer lab, study space, and lounge area.  CED is a hub for students to connect with each other after class or to meet to complete an assignment, or to work on a group project.

In addition to academic department faculty and staff advisors, the CED staff is available to assist students with academic-related issues and provide counseling on engineering trends, career options, and graduate education.



Current Student Programs


CED Open House

 CED welcomes new and returning underrepresented Viterbi students to the new academic year.  Faculty, industry partners and Viterbi staff are invited.


New Graduate Student Welcome Reception

 All new and continuing underrepresented graduate students are invited to a reception during Orientation week each fall and spring.

CED Circles Peer Mentoring Program

 A year long mentor program for new underrepresented (URM) Viterbi freshmen and transfer students incorporating cohort and community-building to assist students in establishing their support network of peers, upper-class students, alumni, faculty and CED corporate representatives who will guide them in creating personal, academic and professional goals.

 Each new freshmen and transfer student will be assigned to a small group, or “circle” with other new students that have at least 1 common engineering, math, physics, or chemistry course.  One CED junior or senior will lead the circle as the mentor.   The mentor’s responsibilities include checking in with each member of the circle weekly, attending a bi-weekly mentor meeting, and attending designated events with their circle.


CED Student Leadership Workshop

 With the support of corporate sponsors that have included Abbott Labs/Abbott Vascular, Boeing, Central Intelligence Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Lockheed Martin, NetApp, Northrop Grumman, Pacific Gas & Electric, Raytheon, Xerox, and the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA), 85-100  executive board members of local student chapters of MAES, NSBE, SHPE, SWE, and AISES to participate in interactive workshops that will enhance their leadership skills.  

The undergraduate and graduate students attending are from Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly SLO, CSU Long Beach, San Diego State University, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, and USC.    



Study Days

 This day long program is co-sponsored by the Viterbi Academic Resource Center during university stop days at the end of the semester.  Undergraduates are invited to ask questions of upper class “Study Partners” who have completed the course.


Advisement of Diversity-Focused Student Organizations

 Advise the student chapters of Alpha Omega Epsilon, Girls in Tech, The National Society of Black Engineers, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Queers in Engineering, Science, and Technology, and The Minority Engineering Graduate Association. CED assists these organizations in developing and implementing programs and activities that raise awareness of issues facing underrepresented minorities and females in engineering professions. Student leaders from these organizations attend professional develop conferences which enables them to interact with and learn from professional underrepresented engineers, as well as other student leaders from across the nation. Our student organizations works together to host various community outreach events throughout the year. These events bring local students to campus to participate in hands on engineering activities and learn more about various engineering fields.


CED Research Symposium (Brightideas)

 CED hosts an annual research poster competition for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors with the goal of providing constructive feedback and encouragement for them to participate in USC’s The Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work and other professional conferences.


Academic Success/Career Development Workshops

 CED offers workshops aimed at assisting students in planning for their futures in engineering.  Examples of past workshops offered to students are: Writing Your Personal Statement, Why Graduate School, Industry Lunch series, ISE Departmental lunchtime lecture, Networking Workshop, Company Information Sessions, Applying to Research Programs, and Time Management workshop.


Women in Engineering (WIE) Connect

 The WIE Connect Program brings middle and high school girls from local areas to campus for a day to learn about opportunities and careers in engineering, as well as how to prepare for college engineering programs. The event includes lab tours, panel discussions and the opportunity to participate in hands-on engineering projects. The high schools students have the opportunity to interact with female engineering faculty and students.




The Year End Banquet provides an opportunity to celebrate the success of graduating CED students with faculty, staff, industry and the students’ family members.  Awards are presented, along with gifts to graduating students.