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Cargill scholarship to enhance engineering diversity

Thomas Dinkins, a spring 1999 graduate of Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, has been selected as the first recipient of a new scholarship established by Cargill, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.

Cargill has established the Cargill Diversity Scholarship to enhance diversity in the engineering profession by supporting students from traditionally under-represented communities. The scholarship provides $11,000 per year for a student to attend the UW-Madison College of Engineering. This amount not only meets the full cost of tuition and fees at the University but also covers room and board expenses in campus housing.

In addition, Cargill will provide an internship at a company facility each summer. Such internships are valuable because they offer a paid learning experience in a "real world" business environment in an area related to a student's career interests.

Dinkins at SOAR

Thomas Dinkins attends a SOAR advising session with Bonnie H. Schmidt of Engineering Academic Affairs. (large image)

Dinkins, who participated in football and track, graduated with a 3.56 grade point average and was treasurer of the National Honor Society. "I'm sure that there will be some adjustments the first year of college and this scholarship will allow me to really concentrate on my studies," Dinkins said.

Assistant Dean Alem Asres, director of the College of Engineering's Diversity Affairs Office, has been working closely with principals, counselors, and math and science teachers in Milwaukee area high schools that serve predominantly minority neighborhoods to increase the enrollment and graduation of traditionally under represented students in engineering disciplines. "Undergraduate engineering programs in the United States are experiencing a decline in minority enrollments," said Asres, assistant dean of diversity affairs. "Aggressive, well-funded interventions such as this grant will help us reverse this trend and maintain our technological leadership and economic strength by allowing more traditionally under-represented student populations to become engineers and scientists. Cargill's gift is an investment in our nation's human capital." Cargill is an international marketer, processor and distributor of agricultural, food, financial and industrial products with about 80,600 employees in more than 1,000 locations in 65 countries.

Tracey Rockhill