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Assistant Dean Ivan Favila receives ASEE 2020 DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award

Assistant Dean Ivan Favila receives ASEE 2020 DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award

6/29/2020 Heather Coit

Ivan Favila, an Assistant Dean in The Grainger College of Engineering, has been selected for the 2020 DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). 

The award recognizes Favila’s continuing support of underrepresented engineering students through his role as director of programs like the Morrill Engineering Program (MEP), the Center for Academic Resources in Engineering (CARE), and the Academic Redshirt in Science and Engineering (ARISE). 

Assistant Dean Favila gathers for a group photo with students and staff of the ARISE program. (photo by Heather Coit)
Assistant Dean Favila gathers for a group photo with students and staff of the ARISE program. (photo by Heather Coit)

“This award validates my approach in working with the students I have been entrusted,” Favila said. “To study engineering means to take on a disciplined approach to understanding nature and the models created to understand her. The effort needed to do well in it is quite enough without having to deal with the effects of institutionalized racism and prejudice that society unfairly presents.”

Favila (B.S. ’94, General Engineering), who was raised in the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago after moving there from Mexico City, is a longtime champion of helping minority students in engineering face challenges. During his undergraduate studies at Illinois, he held leadership positions in student organizations like the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE), Association of Minority Students in Engineering (AMSIE), and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). 

Before returning to Illinois in 2008 to work as assistant dean, Favila taught and coordinated engineering classes for the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education (CAHSEE) in Washington D.C. and New York City. He later established a CASHEE program at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering where he served as assistant director of the Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program (MERRP) and was director of the Engineering Career Center. He also directed the MEP program at the University of Notre Dame. At each of those campuses, he advised the student chapters of SHPE, American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES).
 
Favila’s ongoing dedication to students, and the programs that benefit them, led Jonathan Makela, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to help nominate him for the award. 

“Ivan has epitomized the spirit recognized by this award by continually working to increase student diversity, access, and success within engineering,” Makela said. “Ivan’s contributions to and leadership of critical programs such as MEP, ARISE, and CARE have positively impacted all of us in Grainger Engineering; whether we are newly matriculated students or veteran faculty members, by strengthening our community and making our large college seem more personal and manageable for our students.”

As Favila continues to focus on the recruitment and retention of minority students, he also works to mitigate some of their ongoing obstacles in a polarized society.

“Current events have put a spotlight on the demeaning, demoralizing, and dangerous challenges that students of color face every day,” Favila said. “While we are not immune to society’s tribulations, Illinois has fostered a strong support from Grainger Engineering, alumni, and current students. I am proud of the progress we’ve made and am encouraged to face the challenges ahead of us.”