Director, Minority Engineering Program
Virginia Lynn Booth-Womack is from Indianapolis, Indiana. The first in a family of 5 to attend college, Virginia received a four year scholarship to Purdue University from Father Boniface Hardin, President of what was then known as Martin Center College in Indianapolis, Indiana. Martin Center College is now known as Martin University. She is a Purdue University graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. While at Purdue, Virginia was a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and actively involved with Purdue’s Minority Engineering Programs, She was mentored by the (former) President of Purdue University, Dr. Arthur Hansen, and challenged to run for National Chair of NSBE with a commitment from Dr. Hansen and Purdue University to help support the foundation of the national body.
After being elected, Purdue University provided an office for the first National Headquarters. Virginia was invited to speak at the National Advisory Council for Minorities in Engineering consortium in Washington D.C. In attendance were Fortune 500 Chief Executive Officers and University Presidents from top academic institutions who gathered together to determine how to increase the number of under-represented minorities in the fields of engineering and science. Her open, candid and personal discussion of the needs of African American students pursuing engineering and science and the personal responsibility such students embraced by forming the National Society of Black Engineers, launched national support for NSBE from both corporate and university leaders. As the first female National Chair and the first to serve two consecutive terms of office, over 50 universities received their official 'charter chapter' status during her two terms of office.
While still a student, Virginia worked under Marion Williamson-Blalock and assisted in developing many of the activities that are still vital elements of the Minority Engineering Programs at Purdue University. She served as Assistant Director of MEP during the inception of the MEP Freshman Orientation Seminar (Engineering 180) and the formation of other minority organizations now well established at Purdue.
Virginia has worked for Proctor & Gamble, Eli Lilly Corporation, RCA, General Dynamics, and served as School Administrator for Bibleway Christian Academy (Toledo, Ohio) serving grades Preschool through 12. Before coming to Purdue, she worked at DaimlerChrysler Corporation where she spent 10 years and served as Lean Manufacturing Manager for the Powertrain Division. She was responsible for 100% implementation of training and integration of lean manufacturing principles.
As Minority Engineering Programs Director, Virginia has worked to continue the legacy established at Purdue through the tireless efforts of Ms. Blalock and others in the effort to increase the number of engineering graduates from Purdue University among those who traditionally have been under-represented in the fields of engineering and science. Currently, Virginia is on loan to the National Society of Black Engineers as the Interim Executive Director.
Dr. Carol Stwalley
Recruitment and Retention Analyst, Minority Engineering Program
Dr. Carol Stwalley joined the Minority Engineering Program team in the fall of 2007 as Recruitment and Retention Analyst. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Biological Engineering (ABE), MSABE, and PhD ABE from Purdue University. Carol has more than 7 years in diversity work with considerable background working with the Women in Engineering Programs at Purdue. In her current capacity as Recruitment and Retention Analyst, Dr. Stwalley collects, analyzes and manages data pertaining to the outreach, recruitment, retention and graduation of engineering students from historically underrepresented groups.
Marion W. Blalock
Ms. Marion Williamson Blalock retired as MEP Director in August of 2008 after serving over 34 years. Marion’s contributions to the Purdue College of Engineering span three decades and have had a monumental impact on national and local educational programs. She transformed Purdue's Minority Engineering Program into a national model that has been replicated at major universities throughout the nation. She has mentored thousands of minority students here at Purdue and across the country, and has helped over 2,300 underrepresented, students of color graduate with their engineering degrees. Many of her students have gone on to stellar careers in engineering, education, and business.
Ms. Blalock is a graduate of Purdue University, earning her BS in Sociology and MS in Counseling and Personnel Services. Prior to her appointment as MEP director, she served as Assistant Dean of Students here at Purdue.