A new U of T Engineering outreach program is empowering Black students from across Canada to explore their future in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Launched this summer, Blueprint engages Black students in Grades 9 to 11 who have a love of STEM. It offers them a chance to extend their knowledge of STEM topics, and connects them with mentors who can help them understand what it is like to study and work in STEM on a day-to-day basis.

In its first year, Blueprint has attracted more than 50 participants from across Canada.

“I often hear Black students say that they are the only ones who look like them in their classrooms,” says Cassandra Abraham. She joined Engineering Outreach in 2019 with a mandate to enhance programs focused on equity, diversity and inclusion, and directed the team that designed and delivered Blueprint.

“As a Black student who graduated in STEM from a Canadian university, I relate to that feeling,” says Abraham. “By connecting students with mentors — Black undergraduate students at U of T Engineering who are also members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) — that have also had that experience, we were able to start building a whole new community.”

Blueprint for change: New outreach program encourages Black students to choose STEM