Students at the LEADR Summer Bridge program

LEADR Program

Students working in a group at the LEADR Student Center


The Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention (LEADR) programs’ mission is to recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse population of students from the College of Engineering.


Participants must be engineering students who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • First-generation students 
  • Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) participants 
  • Previous involvement in AVID, EAOP, Talent Search, MESA, Puente, Upward Bound, or similar TRIO or pre-college enrichment programs 
  • Commitment and leadership potential to increase the participation of historically underrepresented groups in engineering 
Speaker at the 2018 LEADR Summer Bridge Program

Summer Bridge Program

The LEADR Summer Bridge program is a hybrid two-week (1 week virtual & 1 week in-person) transition program for incoming first-year frosh students who meet LEADR eligibility criteria. Before the start of the fall quarter, students spend two weeks building community, learning about campus resources, and preparing to transition to the university and into an engineering discipline.

The LEADR Summer Bridge program includes the following: 

  • Introduction to the LEADR program and staff 

  • Connections to upper-division engineering students/community  

  • Overview of university resources and supports  

  • Exposure to professional engineers  

  • Skill development workshops  

Students at the LEADR Student Center

Engineering Seminars

ENG 11A: Issues in Engineering is offered in the fall quarter. This course focuses on:

  • Exploring the National Academy of Engineering 21st Century Grand Challenges 
  • Introduction to campus resources, study skill instruction, and academic success strategies
  • Day in the Life of A Professional Engineer—learn from alumni about what it is like to transition to the workforce and/or graduate school

ENG 11B: Issues in Engineering is offered in the winter quarter. Faculty, from all engineering departments and majors, give insight into their disciplines and research.

Advising and Holds

LEADR students have a team of dedicated advisors who support them throughout their time at UC Davis. Students are encouraged to meet with their LEADR advisors regularly to ensure they get the most from their education. From connecting students to campus resources to tracking progress in their coursework, these advising sessions support students in all aspects of their college life.   

 We believe in holistic advising that focuses on academic, personal, and professional growth. Academically, the focus is on helping students navigate degree requirements, College of Engineering policies, and providing tools for academic success, including time management, goal setting, etc. We offer a safe, respectful, and confidential space for students to ask questions and express themselves.  

As students advance towards graduation, emphasis is placed on career readiness and professional development for internships and job opportunities and exploring other post-graduation pathways.  

LEADR Advising Holds

In addition to meeting annually with their COE major advisor, LEADR students meet quarterly with their LEADR advisor.

LEADR advising appointments are required annually through graduation (quarterly for the first two years and up to two times a year through your final year). LEADR advising appointments are required annually through graduation (quarterly for the first two years and up to two times a year through your final year).   

Living Learning Community

Students walking on campus

The LEADR Living-Learning Community is a residential program focused on easing the transition to college and providing support to students who are among the first in their families to go to college or are underrepresented in their field. Students socialize and bond over experiences often shared by underrepresented engineering students navigating university life and academic demands. Community-building is encouraged by establishing strong peer networks and increased access to faculty and staff.     

Additionally, upper-division LEADR Ambassadors provide peer support for community members. LEADR Living-Learning Community students reside on the LEADR-designated floor in Kearney Hall, located in the Tercero Residence Hall areas, and participate in programming designed to enhance and support their academic success in engineering and foster a sense of community outside of the classroom.  


Student Study Center

Students studying at the LEADR Student Center

The LEADR Student Center is open to any student who supports diversity and inclusion in the field of engineering and who shares a willingness to create a welcoming environment for all students. This dedicated study space allows students to study individually or in groups. Highlights include a media-scape feature and mobile whiteboards to support study groups and team projects. Engineering community building is also encouraged so that) first-year students can benefit from the experiences of juniors and seniors.  

The Chevron Corporation sponsors the LEADR Student Center (aka “The Center”) with additional contributions from:   

  • AT&T
  • Boeing Company 
  • Cisco Systems
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation 
  • Union Pacific 

The Center represents the first industry investment at UC Davis devoted to student retention, including first-generation students and students from historically underserved backgrounds in engineering. These industry leaders and many others recognize the value of increasing and supporting a highly diverse and talented engineering workforce that will fill entry-level jobs with the brightest university graduates.

Campus Partners

Several campus units partner with us to provide tutoring, workshops, graduate school preparation, and leadership and professional development. 

Additional engagement is provided via input from Culture, Diversity & Identity organizations within the College of Engineering, including the American Indian Scientists and Engineers Society, the Black Engineers Association, the Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientists Society, the Society for Women Engineers, and the Pilipinx American Scientists and Engineers Society.  

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is LEADR?
  • Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention (LEADR) is a student support program within the College of Engineering. LEADR’s mission is to recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse population of students from the College of Engineering. Our comprehensive support program offers quality academic advising, professional development and career readiness support, leadership opportunities, a study center designed for individual and group study, and more. 

    We also have a summer bridge program to assist students with the transition to college and a Living-Learning community located in student housing to further build community and exploration of engineering. We aim to support students with their goals and success from the day they step on campus, to the day they graduate, and beyond.

  • Who can participate in LEADR?
  • Participants must be engineering students and meet one or more of the following criteria:
    - First-generation and/or Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students
    - Past participation in the MESA Engineering Pre-College or Community College Programs, AVID, Upward Bound, or similar pre-college enrichment programs
    - Potential for leadership in increasing the participation of students in engineering for historically underrepresented groups.
  • Who is a first-generation student?
  • A student whose parent(s)/guardian(s) did not graduate from a four-year institution.
  • How will LEADR support me throughout my time at UC Davis?
  • LEADR is a community. We aim to work with you from the day you arrive, to the day you graduate, and beyond. Advising is geared toward your needs at each class level from your first year through graduation. This includes an emphasis on academic success, personal goal-setting, and career readiness. Our Introduction to Issues in Engineering courses (ENG 11A/11B) provide a deeper exploration into each engineering discipline and the Grand Challenges related to each major. We also promote community building and peer-to-peer connection through social gatherings, workshops, a space to study located in our LEADR Student Study Center, and more.

  • How do I join LEADR?
  • Students can join LEADR through several pathways, listed below

    Immediate Access (or “application-based” pathways):
    LEADR Summer Bridge (LSB)
    The Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP)
    LEADR Living-Learning Community (LLC)

    We do not want to exclude any potential LEADR-eligible student from participating in the program. If you were not selected, or were unable to participate in STEP, LEADR Summer Bridge, or the LLC, then another pathway to LEADR includes responding to our general invite email which will be sent at the beginning of Fall Quarter or contacting LEADR at to indicate your interest in joining this program.
  • How do I clear an advising hold?
  • Advising holds need to be cleared before registration by meeting with your program advisor. In addition to the College of Engineering's annual advising hold, LEADR students have quarterly advising holds for the first 7 quarters of enrollment (Fall Quarter of the first-year through Fall Quarter of the third-year). First-year transfer students have LEADR holds for only one year.
  • What if I am not enrolled in the College of Engineering?
  • If you are not in the College of Engineering, but are actively planning to change your major to engineering, and meet our participation criteria (listed above), then please email to schedule an appointment with a LEADR advisor.

    Please note: Program participation and on-boarding is dependent on program capacity at the time of your request
  • What is LEADR Summer Bridge (LSB)?
  • LSB is a summer program for first-year freshmen that is held prior to the start of fall quarter with the goal to ease the transition to the first year of college. During Summer Bridge, students live in residence halls with upper-division peer mentors and spend their days learning about campus resources, the transition from high school to college, how to cultivate a sense of belonging and community,and professional development.
  • Why should I participate in the LSB Program?
  • Students who participated in the LSB Program have found it to be a valuable experience that helped them get acquainted to UC Davis, LEADR, and the College of Engineering. Participating in the LSB Program allows you to make connections with peers before classes even start, introduces you to essential campus resources, and provides you with insights into the engineering profession from professional engineers.

    Students should apply to participate in the LSB Program if they would like to have a smooth transition to the college experience and are curious and committed to learning about what it takes to be successful in the engineering major and profession.
  • Do I pay to participate in LSB or the LEADR Program?
  • There is no cost involved with participation in LSB other than your transportation to/from the program. No cost is involved for participation in LEADR.
  • I was accepted into the Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP), can I also attend the LSB Program?
  • Since LEADR works with students during the STEP Program, and will be covering similar material during LSB, students may only attend one of the summer programs. If you are accepted into STEP, we do highly encourage you to attend.
  • What is the benefit of living on a Living-Learning Community floor?
  • Students who live in Living-Learning Communities have the unique experience of living with peers who share similar interests, classes, and backgrounds. The LEADR Living-Learning Community is designated for first-generation students who plan to study engineering. Floor events include: social activities, interaction with faculty members who are also first-generation, study group formation, and presentations on engineering related topics. LEADR Living-Learning Community members are also required to enroll in ENG 11A: Introduction to Issues in Engineering—the LEADR Program seminar.
  • Who will be living in LEADR Living-Learning Community?
  • The LEADR Living-Learning Community includes students who attend the Special Transitional Enrichment Program, the LEADR Summer Bridge Program, and students who would like to be part of LEADR but did not attend either summer program.
  • Who do I contact if I have more questions about LEADR?
  • LEADR staff are happy to respond to any questions sent to