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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Automotive Engineering

Top Photo: From left to right, a Deep Orange 7 industry partner talks to Robert Knizek, Melvin Babbs, Pratiksha Shelke, and Yang Yang while working on Deep Orange 7 carbon fiber panels


Clemson University’s Automotive Engineering (AuE) department actively encourages participation by students and employees from underrepresented populations to bring diverse viewpoints and skillsets to AuE. We strive to create a welcoming and affirming environment for students of all races and backgrounds, including encouraging African American, Hispanic, Latinx, Women, and LGBTQ+ participation. AuE does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or any other characteristic.


aue-dei-image1.jpgDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental human rights. Separately, diversity and inclusion are economic drivers because the unique perspectives and ideas of a heterogeneous workforce enhance industrial/international competitiveness. Despite these facts, both institutionalized discrimination and current prejudices have resulted in the underrepresentation of certain groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The percent of women and underrepresented groups in engineering is less than 15% and 18%, respectively. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to:

  1. Foster a welcoming and inclusive environment,
  2. Encourage individuals from underrepresented groups toward a career in STEM, and
  3. Ensure equity of opportunities and treatment for all individuals.

Photo: Deep Orange 7 students Lauren Mims (left) and Dheemanth Uppalapati (right) admire 3D printed trip pieces in Deep Orange 6

aue-dei-image5.jpgOur Goal

Clemson University’s Automotive Engineering (AuE) department is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment that promotes diversity and equity among its students, staff, and faculty. We respect differences between people (e.g., age, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.) and we believe these differences should be embraced because they improve our department’s value and competitiveness.

We strive to create a culture of support for diversity, equity, and inclusion and we encourage and support the university-wide culture that promotes a climate conducive to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Photo: Damilola Baiyeroju grinds a piece for Deep Orange 13 for a perfect fit.

More Information

In the spring of 2022, a new Inclusive Excellence Committee was publically launched in the Automotive Engineering department to:

  1. Evaluate the current climate and strengths of the department in the context of DEI,
  2. Identify areas for improvement and propose solutions, and
  3. Generally promote departmental interactions that are mindful/empathetic of cultural and identity differences.

aue-dei-image6.jpgThe work of the AuE Inclusive Excellence committee will be perpetual and will evolve over time. As an initial step, the committee advocate for academic/university policies that promote inclusive excellence at the college and university level, and draft AuE policies and procedures to advance inclusive excellence within AuE.

To provide feedback or recommendations to the committee, please email

Photo: Tata Fellow Sachin Ganesh Uma Maheswaran works on a project oversaw by Dr. Brij Khorana.

Clemson University has a variety of programs that encourage the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM. One example is The Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Multicultural Center, which is committed to creating diverse learning environments that enhance the intercultural competence of our students. The center supports and advocates for all Clemson students’ needs, challenges students to think critically about themselves and their communities, provides engaging experiential learning opportunities, and empowers students to be positive change agents. The vision for the center is to be the nation’s premier educational resource that cultivates intellectually vibrant and socially just communities.

aue-dei-image4.jpgThe Gantt Center facilitates an array of educational opportunities, including:

  • Ally training, focusing on understanding terminology and issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Implicit Bias Training, focusing on understanding implicit bias and provides ten practical strategies for creating a work environment that fosters inclusion.
  • LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community, which is dedicated to affirming, embracing, and advancing students who identify as part of, or allies of, the LGBTQIA+ community. Lavender Place offers an inclusive community where students can comfortably explore and express their identities.
  • And many more opportunities for student engagement.

Clemson also has chapters/programs related to the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), and others.

As a result of the large number of programs Clemson offers and the investment that Clemson is making in encouraging diversity and inclusion, Clemson University earned the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award in 2017-2020. Clemson University is one of just sixteen institutions in the nation to receive INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Diversity Champion designation for 2019 and 2020 for its outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. In 2015, Clemson ranked thirteenth among predominantly white institutions for graduating African American students in Engineering.

Photo: Dr. Joerg Schulte (left) from BMW admires origami concepts from Deep Orange 7’s Yang Yang (right).

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research is located in Greenville County, South Carolina. Clemson University and the Automotive Engineering department is dedicated to reducing and eventually eliminating the racial inequities that exist globally and locally, including within Greenville County.

According to the Equality of Opportunity Project, it is more challenging in the Southeast than anywhere else in the U.S. for young people in the poorest households to move up the economic ladder as adults. Nevertheless, the Greenville Upstate region of South Carolina is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. BMW, Bosch, and Michelin are only a few large employers creating a strong demand for STEM expertise across the region and the global workforce, and we seek to work together to prepare a diverse group of STEM students to meet needs across sectors.

By 2050, our country stands to realize an $8 trillion gain in GDP by closing the U.S. racial equity gap. “Closing the gap” means lessening and ultimately eliminating disparities and opportunity differentials that limit the human potential and the economic contributions of groups subjected to discrimination.