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Black, Latino, and Native American students are part of a “new majority” who thrive on a campus that values, celebrates, and supports all life experiences and perspectives that contribute to innovation and developing new technology that will change the world.

At Rensselaer, we welcome your insights, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your unique perspective. Your input helps us develop educational programs and research projects that better serve all people, from all cultures, around the globe.

Here you will find a diverse community of students from all 50 states and 65 countries, with virtually every ethnic background represented— we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our innovative approach to learning, coupled with the strength of this culturally rich community, makes it a place where anything is possible.

We have great opportunities and high expectations for every student we enroll. We anticipate that every student who comes to Rensselaer will bring significant value to our campus. Whether you decide to spend your time involved in activities including music and the performing arts, athletics, a fraternity or sorority, or another of our nearly 200 clubs and organizations, we know that you will find a place to grow in many ways, while contributing to and drawing from the Rensselaer community.

Underrepresented Minorities in Engineering

Our underrepresented minority students are breaking barriers to build diverse teams of technological leaders.

Professional Organizations

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

The mission of RPI’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers is to "increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize their fullest potential and impacts the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.  The RPI chapter of SHPE works to develop their members professionally through leadership and community outreach by creating a friendly atmosphere among members.

Student Organizations

Black Students Alliance

The BSA exists to allow the participation of all people in the promotion of black cultural, intellectual, and social interests at RPI and in the surrounding community. Above all, the alliance serves to uplift the conscious awareness of the black student, politically, culturally, and intellectually; to champion and ensure the rights of black students and our community; and to be a guiding and uniting force for the black student on campus and the surrounding community.

Black Graduate Student Association

The purpose of BGSA is to address the underrepresentation of individuals of African descent in graduate education by increasing awareness of professional and financial resources, creating a support structure for such individuals, and holding programming that fosters an inclusive social atmosphere.

Go Greek!

Alpha Phi Alpha

The Omicron Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was founded on February 19, 1983. With the help of Brother Dr. Paul Zuber, RPI's first black tenured professor, seven men known as Minijewels brought Alpha Phi Alpha to the campus community. Since then, the Omicron Upsilon Chapter has grown to more than 68 lifelong brothers. Brothers have made great personal achievements, as many of them have become lawyers, doctors and successful businessmen.

APA prides itself on accomplishing the goals stated in the fraternity motto, “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All,” and does this by providing a wide range of programs to students and residents of the Capital District. Programs include generous donations to homeless shelters, bringing distinguished speakers to campus like Roscoe Brown (a Tuskegee Airman) and Ossie Davis, registering people to vote with the national "A Voteless People is a Hopeless People" event, creating awareness through "Roundtable Discussion" forums, enlightening students on the many other black Greek organizations through joint events and providing a whole lot of fun to the campus with parties and the Black and Gold Ball.

Phi Iota Alpha

Phi Iota Alpha is the oldest Latino fraternity in existence. The Alpha Chapter was founded at RPI on December 26, 1931. The history of Phi Iota Alpha is the history of all Latino college students and professionals who strive to keep their intellectual heritage alive. Since its inception, when the legendary "Union Hispano Americana" (UHA) was first organized in 1898, the fraternity has upheld its sublime and unique ideological foundation of Pan-Americanism. The ideology of Pan-Americanism can be summarized as the "unification of all the Latin American nations and all Latin American people." The fraternity has served as an "Ideological University" through the study and interpretation of Pan-Americanism inspired by the accomplishments of its Five Pillars.

Sigma Delta

La Sociedad de Damas, Sigma Delta is the only local sorority recognized by the Panhellenic Association. A Latin-based sorority founded in 1996, their purpose is to promote basic values such as honesty, compassion, self-pride, professionalism, and hard work among women. Women who share their values are strongly encouraged to join, regardless of their background.

Opportunities for High School Students

The STAR Program

Academically talented, underrepresented minorities and young women are invited to apply for the STAR (Science, Technology, Arts at Rensselaer) Program at Rensselaer. Experience life as a Rensselaer student—attend classes, tour campus, visit our laboratories and facilities, and socialize with current Rensselaer students. This event is held in conjunction with the fall admissions open house.

Activities include:

  • Academic exploration
  • Overview of undergraduate research, co-op, and study abroad programs
  • Campus tour
  • Student panels
  • Student organizations and clubs fair
  • Lodging and meals with current students

The PREFACE Summer Program

The Rensselaer PREFACE Program is a two-week residential summer experience for talented high school sophomores and juniors, who will enter 11th or 12th grade in the fall of the coming year and who have expressed a strong, early interest in pursuing a career in the engineering and technological professions. It is for high school students from groups that have been historically and traditionally underrepresented or underserved in science, engineering, and technological fields.

Participation in the PREFACE Summer Program provides the student participants with extraordinary opportunities:

  • PREFACE provides experiences using an engineering process approach to resolve a problem (e.g., design, troubleshoot, innovate, model, revise, and assess outcomes)
  • Activities, classes, and workshops create opportunities to develop leadership and team-building skills
  • Students explore career opportunities available in the engineering professions as a means to develop a deeper understanding of the role and expectations of an engineering education
  • The PREFACE Program presents a snapshot of college life and its academic, social, cultural, service learning, and environmental experiences

Black Family Technology Awareness Day

Black Family Technology Awareness Day is a great opportunity for young people and their families to get a taste of the excitement and possibilities of careers in science, technology, and engineering fields. There are workshops led by Rensselaer professors, students, alumni, and community organizations. The event is held each year in late winter, and is free and open to the public.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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