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Hart receives DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award

Brenda Hart receives DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award from retiring ASEE President Sarah Rajala during the annual awards reception and banquet held in Austin, Texas, June 18, 2009.The DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award honors an engineering educator for exceptional achievement in increasing participation and retention of minorities and women in engineering. The award consists of a $1,500 honorarium, a framed certificate, and a grant of $500 for travel expenses to attend the ASEE Annual Conference. Endowed by the DuPont Company, this award is intended to recognize the importance of student diversity by ethnicity and gender in science, engineering, and technology.

Speed School's Brenda Hart received the award at the ASEE Annual Awards Banquet held June 17, 2009 at the Hilton Austin Hotel, in Austin, Texas.

Hart was recognized by the DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award for her many years of outstanding achievement in increasing student diversity in engineering and engineering technology. She has successfully recruited and guided hundreds of underrepresented students through the engineering programs at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. For more than 25 years, she has served as faculty advisor to the student chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers.

Hart is Professor of Engineering Fundamentals and Director of Student Affairs at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. Prior to her current position, she served as Director of Minority and Women in Engineering Programs also at the University of Louisville (UofL). Other experiences include having served as Assistant Director in the Office of Cooperative Education and Placement and as Director of Speed School’s Academic Advising Office.

She holds a B.A. in French from Boston University and a Master’s in Student Personnel Services – College Counseling from UofL.

Her areas of interest include special initiatives for students historically under-represented in engineering, such as African American and female students, and orientation classes for first-year students. She has given presentations at regional and national conferences and has published several articles in referred journals as well as in conference journals as well as in conference proceedings. She has also served on evaluation panels for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program as well as for STEM.

Hart initiated the INSPIRE Program in 1981 and has been directing the program since that time. Increasing Student Preparedness and Interest in the Requisites for Engineering (INSPIRE) is a pre-college program for under-represented minorities which brings high school student to the UofL campus for a 5-week summer term to introduce them to various fields of engineering. The program has served over 600 students since 1981, and over 40 percent of the student who participated in the program entered and graduated from UofL. Of those, 43 percent earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering and 17 percent went on to earn degrees in mathematics, medicine, biology, and computer science.

In addition, Hart developed an annual Career Day for local high school girls, which she has hosted for the past ten years; initiated a mentoring program for African American students who get paired with alumni from UofL; and implemented a peer mentoring program for NSBE and SWE chapters. She implemented two programs that have been held annually for the past  15 years: Career Day for African American students, where 80 students go to the UofL campus each fall for introduction to engineering and science; and an annual awards banquet for African American students graduating with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Hart has served on the Board of Directors of WEPAN, NAMEPA, and NACADA. She currently serves on the UofL’s Athletic Board of Directors, the Alumni Board, and the University Club.

She received the Founder’s Award from WEPAN (2006) and a Distinguished Service Award from UofL (2002). She was also presented with the Trustees Award from the UofL Board of Trustees (1997).

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