The coordinators and administrators in this organization treated me like I was a person and not just another number on a checklist. They interacted with me in a way that let me knew that they cared about me as a person and not just someone that can crank out papers for the next 5 years. My experience at Michigan during the summer of 2004 in this organization and its programs is really what made me decide to pursue my graduate studies.
When it came to choosing which graudate school I wanted to attend, my first choice was the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. When I visited the University of Michigan, I knew that there were people and an organization present that were going to help guide and support me (emotionally, financially, and academically) throughout my graduate career.
The University of Michigan invested time and money to bring me to their Dept of Mechanical Engineering to perform research at graduate level They even sent people down to my school, Alabama A&M University, to talk about the opportunities at Michigan and give them tips and techniques to apply to Michigan for graduate school or for the summer research opportunity program.
By having a organization and personnel solely dedicated to actively recruiting underrepresented students and helping me receive my graduate degree(s), I knew that the University of Michigan was serious about establishing and maintaining a diversified environment in its engineering programs.
I was able to personally connect with the people at University of Michigan because I new they cared about me and my overall well being and success. I felt a sense of loyalty to Michigan because of the kindness they bestowed upon me and the resources that committed to my success in graduate school at Michigan and other top tier schools.
The CUES organization and its programs at Berkeley are also identical twins to the organization and program at Michigan. After I became familiar with CUES and its personnel, I knew that no matter what happened at Berkeley during my graduate career they would always be there to provide me a support network.
The only reason I came to UC Berkeley over the University of Michigan was that the people I personally connected with at Michigan were going to retire few my first year in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
No matter where I went to school, I knew I was going to be successful. However, I wanted to make sure that the graduate school I went also wanted me to be successful and was willing to support to me. It was hard for me to say "No" to Michigan after all the things they had done for me, but I knew in my heart that I wanted to go to a school that cared about me as a person and was going to support me no matter what happens. There was not a doubt in my mind that CUES and the people that make of CUES would always be there for me while I was at Berkeley.
CUES is an organization whose solely purpose everyday is to recruit and graduate future engineers in the UC Berkeley's College of Engineering's undergraduate and graduate programs.
CUES is an excellent program that has had an extensive and successful track record of providing academic, social, and monetary support to students in their undergraduate and graduate endeavors as well. It is, in a nutshell, a close knit family that cares about the academic, professional, and social well being of the people it serves.
When I go to that office, I know that every person, every scrap of paper, and every dollar in that place is dedicated to one thing and one thing only: increasing the number of underrepresented groups such as women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Latinos that attend and graduate from the undergraduate and graduate programs in College of Engineering at UC Berkeley.
The ESS will never be CUES because its primary focus is not to increase the enrollment and the graduate rates of the above mention underrepresented groups. In ESS, the focus on the above mentioned underrepresented groups will take a tertiary role at best.
This move to reorganization/eliminate CUES is Dean Sastry's first statement and act about diversity at the College of Engineering. What this move shows is that the College of Engineering no longer places a high priority on recruiting and graduating more women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Latinos in the undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley.