MECOP is Making Strides Towards DEI

Molly Duddlesten - Communications Coordinator, MECOP Inc. January 19th, 2023

After several exciting months, MECOP’s Executive Director, Yuliya Dennis, has wrapped up the final pieces of her Student Listening Tour. Based on the results of Yuliya’s dedicated tour, the MECOP office is reflecting and expanding upon our efforts towards practicing diversity, equity, and inclusion. During the listening tour, Yuliya reached out to each and every student participant in the MECOP program and offered to meet with them. Through her committed efforts and thought-provoking discussions, Yuliya collected valuable feedback, which will be utilized directly to improve the program’s Student First motto.

“It’s important for us to hear directly from students about their experience,” she said.

“We’re committed to continuously looking for better ways to serve students, and we’re able to do so by listening to those who are currently involved in the program.”

In addition to her Student Listening Tour, Yuliya also represented MECOP through her participation in Oregon MESA’s MESA Day event this past summer (pictured left). Held at Portland State University, MESA Day is an exciting event which promotes participation in STEM fields to students from underrepresented communities to encourage them into choosing STEM as a career.

This year, the MECOP office also made strides by implementing the requirement for all MECOP employees to include a DEI-related goal in each of their annual goal settings for this year, a requirement which will continue in years to come. The MECOP Staff are also attending HR diversity trainings this year, and are determined to practice diversity, equity, and inclusion by applying the valuable practices they learn from these trainings to their everyday work.

The MECOP Diversity Committee is leading the charge for MECOP to put DEI work as a top priority. An example of one of their implementations is the virtual diversity training event titled, “Barriers to and Strategies for Equitable Interviewing,” which will be held in April of this year. The training will also be required for all MECOP representatives who are responsible for interviewing potential interns, and will be hosted by Anne Gillies, Oregon State University’s Search Advocate Program Director. Annie Gillies will also provide training to company mentors on cognitive and structural bias. MECOP is thrilled for Anne to share her expertise with us.

The MECOP Student Support Committee is working hard on outreach efforts to reach more diverse student populations to share about the MECOP program. Some notable implementations include K-12 outreach as well as Community College outreach. Several members of the Student Support Committee also plan to attend Oregon Engineers Week 2023 in Portland this February.

Additionally, the Student Support committee collaborates with the Student Advisory Board, which is comprised of current student participants who share their thoughts with industry representatives on a quarterly basis and discuss their personal internship experiences as well as voice their concerns while offering innovative ideas towards program improvement.

On January 13th, Yuliya, joined by MECOP's Operations Director, Dustin Scott, spoke to a group of nearly 70-80 students who are interested in joining MECOP as a part of OSU's "Engineering is Everywhere" series. Special thanks to Josephine Fleetwood & Lanell Nolf for putting on this event!

On January 25th, MECOP representatives and students spoke on a panel in collaboration with the OSU College of Engineering’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Panelists included (pictured left to right in the banner image): Yuliya Dennis (MECOP Executive Director, Sarah Jones (MECOP President & MECOP graduate), Caithlin Kapsner (Diversity Committee chair), Robyn Chadwick (MECOP graduate), and Devin Pham (current MECOP participant). Attendees of this panel were able to hear about MECOP’s DEI efforts that have begun our path towards cultivating an improved, more welcoming program, as well as participate in a Q&A with our panelists.

2023 is off to a very strong start, and MECOP hopes to go up from here by expanding outreach work. Be sure to keep an eye on us via LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up-to-date on our next plans towards implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.