Regina Lawless has strong ties to the University of San Francisco — and they’re only getting stronger as she takes on a role with the university’s new engineering program.
Lawless, who is global director for Diversity, Equality & Inclusion at Micron, has been appointed to the program’s Founding Engineering Advisory Council. This program will be unlike any other in the country, as it seeks to “change the face of engineering.”
“USF has one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse student bodies and is two-thirds women,” the program website says. “This gives us a unique opportunity to revolutionize the demographics of the field.”
The University of San Francisco is a private Jesuit university with about 10,600 undergraduate and graduate students.
“Students and faculty will benefit from exposure to Micron through potential engineering projects, site tours or Micron guest speakers,” Lawless said. “Micron will benefit from cultivating a pipeline of diverse engineering talent for internships and future entry-level roles. I personally will benefit by helping to mentor and shape the early careers of promising students.”
Lawless earned her Master of Science degree in organization development from USF in 2012 and since then has been involved with the university’s Women in Leadership & Philanthropy initiative. She was asked to speak at the spring symposium and featured in a June 5 university article titled “Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Diverse, Innovative Leaders.”
She’s excited about the chance to help guide the next generation of engineers.
“This is a unique opportunity for USF to pilot a new type of engineering program that centers on project-based curriculum to cultivate innovative, broad-minded, community-focused engineers,” Lawless said. “USF’s bold approach to engineering could help reshape the landscape of tech in the Bay Area and beyond.”
The new engineering program, which launches this fall, is focused on recruiting, admitting and graduating a diverse student body.
The inaugural class for the school is 40% women — double the number of the typical engineering program — and 35% are underrepresented minorities, Lawless said. More than half the faculty are women. This is especially notable at a time when fewer women are pursuing engineering and STEM degrees, and many are leaving the field.
The program, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, will offer degrees in environmental, civil and electrical engineering. The goal is to grow the program into a full-fledged school of engineering, Lawless said.
Jeremy Kasdin, assistant dean of engineering at USF, appointed Lawless to serve on the advisory council. She’s one of 11 council members, all of whom will serve three-year terms.
“Regina shares with us the vision for the school as embracing diversity and viewing each student's unique background as an asset,” Kasdin said in the June 5 USF article. “We believe that Regina’s background and experience as a diversity officer will provide the department with an important perspective as we guide our students to graduation.”