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Automotive Engineering

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Engineering For Everyone

Clemson University’s Automotive Engineering (AuE) department actively encourages participation by students and employees from underrepresented populations to bring diverse viewpoints and skill sets 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 other characteristics.

Group of students with car body at CUICAR.

Focus Areas

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are fundamental human rights. They are also economic drivers. A heterogeneous workforce’s unique perspectives and ideas enhance industrial and 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 percentage of women and underrepresented groups in engineering is less than 15% and 18%, respectively.

Angel Rivera working on Deep Orange vehicle.


Foster a welcoming and inclusive environment

Group of females who won SAWF.


Encourage individuals from underrepresented groups toward a career in STEM

Students working on Deep Orange vehicle outside of CUICAR.


Ensure equity of opportunities and treatment for all individuals

Driven To Lead

Women influence more than 80% of new car purchases yet make up only around 25% of the industry’s workforce. For the women of Deep Orange, data points like these drive them to want to make an impact in their chosen field of automotive engineering. Learn how Rivkah Saldanha, Yang Yang, and Bhavya Mishra are bucking this trend by leading their colleagues, championing women’s perspectives in automotive design and hoping their experience can encourage other women to pursue careers in engineering.

Women of Deep Orange
Saldanha profile
Presley profile

Gem Fellow

One of Clemson University’s newest and most high-profile partnerships is providing master’s student Presley Ihezue with an opportunity to work on his passion for sustainable transportation through an internship with the U.S. Army and their GVSC research program. The partnership aims to develop innovative virtual prototyping tools for designing the next generation of on- and off-road vehicles. Presley is pursuing an M.S. in automotive engineering because research assistant professor Jerome McClendon helped him find scholarships. Presley is supported by two prestigious programs, Associate GEM Fellow and a SMART scholarship from the Department of Defense.

Presley's Story

Our 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 encourage and support the university-wide culture that promotes a climate conducive to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • AUE Inclusive Excellence Committee

    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.

    Maheswaran in labThe work of the AuE Inclusive Excellence committee will be perpetual and will evolve. 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 us.

  • CECAS and University-Level Resources

    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.

    Schulte and DO 7 Yang YangThe 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 providing ten practical strategies for creating a work environment that fosters inclusion.
    • LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community - 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.

    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.

  • Local Relevance

    Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research is located in Greenville County, South Carolina. Clemson University and the Automotive Engineering department are 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.