College of Engineering Student Ambassador program promotes diversity and inclusion, provides skill-building opportunities for students

A large group of excited engineering students pose together

Cristian Reyes, student outreach and recruitment coordinator for the College of Engineering, is dedicated to helping current and incoming students feel welcome at Oregon State.

“When I talk about recruitment, it’s ‘How can I help you find community at Oregon State?’” Reyes said. “That's very important to me because, as a first-generation student to Oregon State myself, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the College Assisted Migrant Program, which placed me into a community right away. If I had questions, or felt out of place, I had a group of friends before school even started.”

One important way Reyes promotes community at Oregon State is by supervising the College of Engineering Student Ambassador Program, a group of about 30number engineering undergraduates that provide information to prospective students through on-campus tours, school visits, and outreach events. These are paid positions and the job listing can be found through the Oregon State University Job Portal.

Current ambassadors come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, nationalities, and fields of study. This level of diversity within the program is important, Reyes said.

It’s important because COE Student Ambassadors are a community-facing group, said Sahid Rosado Lausell, the former Director of Outreach, Recruitment, and Diversity Initiatives for the College of Engineering. “They have a big impact working with K-12 students by showing them there are ambassadors that look like them and they are engineers.”

Lausell is also mindful that the COE Student Ambassador Program’s level of diversity is much higher than the college as a whole. So, she has encouraged ambassadors to be honest with students of marginalized groups and to direct them towards affinity organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, Out in STEM, and the Society of Women Engineers, as well as Oregon State’s cultural centers.

Connecting with students before they enroll at Oregon State is about “building trust,” Reyes said. This is especially true for first-generation students and other underrepresented groups within the College of Engineering programs.

Through Winter Visits, the program’s largest initiative, ambassadors have an opportunity to connect directly with K-12 students in the greater Willamette Valley area and beyond. “They interact with students and build a relationship with the classroom,” Reyes said. “They also extend that aid by accepting follow-up questions from teachers and students via email.”

Ambassadors that leave the state for winter break are still able to complete their Winter Visit, Reyes said. “If [ambassadors] want to go to their local high schools, that’s absolutely possible.”

April 12, 2024