Amy Freeman’s student mentoring philosophy includes building a meaningful relationship in a way that helps the student integrate into the scholarly culture of academe, and assists the student in translating subtle information and actions across cultural value systems, whether based on class, hierarchy, or those stemming from racial or gender bias. Excellent mentoring relationships, she believes, provide the mentee with a personal sounding board and a resource where successful professional strategies can be developed.
Dr. Freeman’s academic credentials include a Master of Science degree in Architectural Engineering and a Ph.D. in Workforce Education. This unusual combination has prepared her well for research in engineering education. Over the past 16 years, she has positively impacted hundreds of students through personal interaction, the creation of several new initiatives, and sharing best practices to inspire other diversity practitioners and scholars to replicate and carry this work forward. Her most substantial mentorship of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students has focused on scholarly success initiated through eight summer bridge programs.
The Pre-First Year in Science and Engineering Summer Scholars Program (PreF) is one of her most successful bridge activities. Today, the Pre-F program has a successful history of 25 years with a total of 556 participants and 430 who have graduated or are still enrolled (77 percent retention). Dr. Freeman has personally mentored more than 400 of the bridge programs’ racially underrepresented students. Her work at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) includes several international programs for her mentees where the students introduce sustainable engineering practices to improve residential and community infrastructures.
She provides leadership for the Center for Engineering Outreach and Inclusion with about 35 programs that serve an audience of approximately 1,900 women, 700 racially underrepresented students and 2,300 additional engineering students across 15 Penn State campuses in the Commonwealth. The total enrollment of the Penn State College of Engineering is around 11,000.
Dr. Freeman’s honors include:
- President and executive board member of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Programs Advocates, 2006-2012
- Two Golden Torch Awards through the National Society of Black Engineers for Lifetime Achievement in Academia, 2010
- President-Elect (2016) of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network