A Clemson University program received an award from a national organization whose mission is to  produce a diverse pool of engineers and scientists and to help America maintain its competitive edge.

PEER received the 2017 NAMEPA Retention Program Award  from the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs.

Serita Acker is fostering diversity as director of PEER and WISE.

Serita Acker is fostering diversity as director of PEER and WISE.

The award honors retention programs that have increased the participation of students from populations historically underrepresented in engineering. It was presented during the organization’s 38th annual conference at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

PEER stands for Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention. As part of the program, incoming freshmen from underrepresented groups are assigned a student mentor, who is a junior, senior or graduate student.

The mentors help their mentees navigate the academic and social terrain of higher education.

PEER is available to all underrepresented students in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

Serita Acker, director of PEER and its sister program, WISE, said: “It was an honor for Lisa Jackson, PEER coordinator, and I to accept the award on behalf of all our students, mentors, mentee’s and staff.  Our proactive mentoring  program is 30  years old and we have many alumni that can attest  to how PEER has made the difference in their Clemson Experience.”

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the colleges, congratulated the all those involved in advancing the program.

“The award is a testament to the hard work of the PEER team,” he said. “They are playing a crucial role in creating a more diverse pipeline from academia to industry.”