In 1987, the Emerson Co. and St. Louis Community College formed a
partnership with the University of Missouri-Rolla to help minority students
interested in studying engineering get a college degree. Twenty years and 67
graduates later, the Emerson Minority Engineering Scholarship Program is
celebrating a milestone anniversary.
The program has seen great success over the past two decades, according to
Dorothy McGuffin, professor of counseling at St. Louis Community College
Florissant Valley and STLCC District Coordinator for the Emerson Minority
Engineering Scholarship Program. More than 90 percent of students in the
Emerson Program who transferred from St. Louis Community College (STLCC) have
graduated from UMR. A recent study showed that over a six-year period, 30 of 31
students transferring from STLCC graduated from UMR.
Representatives from Emerson, UMR and STLCC will be on hand to celebrate the
program’s achievements Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Norwood Hills Country Club in
St. Louis. During the banquet, the program’s most recent recruits will be
honored and four of the program’s graduates will speak about their
Speaker Alexandria Merritt, a 2003 UMR mechanical engineering graduate, was
always strong in math and science, but never considered engineering as a
profession until a friend described the field of chemical engineering.
“‘Engineering’ wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary", Merritt says. “I
thought I wanted to be a lawyer". Merritt learned of the Emerson Program
from her Normandy High School counselor and enrolled at STLCC’s Florissant
Valley campus. At UMR, Merritt decided she liked more of a hands-on field and
switched from chemical engineering to mechanical engineering. Today, she is a
team leader for General Mills in Hannibal, Mo.
“Because of the Emerson scholarship, I am where I am today", Merritt
says. “People who can think are in high demand. I connect well with people and
can think and solve problems. This is the perfect job for me".
Speaker Darla Ellis graduated from UMR in 2006 with a chemical engineering
degree. Now she is working on materials research to develop a new airbag
application as a manufacturing engineer for Nike’s In-House Manufacturing. She
first learned of the Emerson Program from Merritt, who is her cousin.
“I got the Emerson scholarship my last year at Florissant Valley"",
says Ellis. “The scholarship came when I needed it most. It was an even bigger
relief to know that when I transferred to Rolla, my scholarship transferred
Ellis credits Emerson and those involved with the scholarship program at UMR
and STLCC with her career success.
“The journey wasn’t easy, but Emerson’s scholarship definitely improved my
quality of life".
The goal of the Emerson Minority Engineering Scholarship Program is to
broaden the pipeline of talented engineering students from under-represented
populations by encouraging students who might not otherwise have considered
engineering to do so.
“Providing financial and academic support at the community college level,
combined with a firm commitment to financial support upon transfer to UMR,
Emerson inspires and motivates St. Louis students to work hard and achieve
their dreams", says Lynn Stichnote, director of admissions at UMR. “By
bringing together the faculty, administrators and staff from both St. Louis
Community College and UMR who directly impact the students’ chances for
success, Emerson builds key relationships that ensure students success at both