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 and/or Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students
  • Past participation in the MESA Engineering Pre-College or Community College Program, AVID, Upward Bound, or similar pre-college enrichment programs
  • Potential for leadership in increasing the participation of students in engineering from historically underrepresented groups
Speaker at the 2018 LEADR Summer Bridge Program

Summer Bridge Program

The LEADR Summer Bridge program is a five-day transitional program for incoming freshmen who meet the eligibility criteria for LEADR. Held before the start of fall quarter, students and upper division Peer Mentors spend the week building community and learning about the transition from high school to the university, with an engineering focus.
The LEADR Summer Bridge program includes:

  • Introduction to the LEADR program and staff
  • Getting to know other engineering students
  • Introduction to the support services for engineering students at UC Davis
  • Professional development activities led by practicing engineers
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 are getting the most from their education. From connecting students to campus resources, to tracking progress in their coursework, these advising sessions are designed to support students in all aspects of their college life. 

Advising is holistic and focuses on both academic and personal growth. Academically, the focus is on helping students effectively navigate degree requirements and College of Engineering policies as well as providing tools for academic success including time management, goal setting, etc. Emphasis is always placed on providing 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, as well as exploring other post-graduation pathways.

LEADR Advising Holds

In addition to meeting with their program advisor for the College of Engineering’s annual mandatory advising hold, all LEADR students have mandatory, quarterly, advising holds for their first 7 quarters of enrollment (Fall Quarter of the first-year through Fall Quarter of the third-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 one of the first in their families to go to college. Building community is encouraged through establishing strong peer networks along with increased access to faculty and staff. Students also have the opportunity to socialize within the shared experience that first generation engineering students may feel as they navigate their college and campus. 

Additional peer support for members of this community is provided by the LEADR Ambassadors—student leaders who look forward to sharing their knowledge with incoming students. LEADR Living-Learning Community students reside on the LEADR-designated floor in Kearney Hall, located in the Tercero Residence Halls, 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. Engineering community building is also encouraged, so that (for example) first-year students can benefit from the experiences of juniors and seniors. Highlights include a media-scape feature and mobile white boards intended to support study groups and team projects.

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 that of first-generation students and students from historically underserved backgrounds in engineering. These industry leaders — and many others — recognize the value of increasing the diversity of the recruitment pool, and of being able to fill entry-level jobs with the best and brightest university graduates.

The UC Davis College of Engineering has long been dedicated to the goal of fostering a vibrant community of learning and scholarship. Diversity enhances this goal through the contribution of different voices and experiences to innovation, engineering problem solving, and the application of solutions in an increasingly complex society. Through “the Center”, all students are encouraged to work outside their familiar environments, while developing an appreciation for the perspectives and lived experiences of their student peers.

Located in Room 1062 Kemper Hall, the Student Center is open during the academic year, ending June 9, 2022 (Summer Hours TBA): 

  • Monday 10:00am - 7:00pm
  • Tuesday 9:00am - 7:00pm
  • Wednesday 10:00am - 9:00pm
  • Thursday 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm

Campus Partners

Tutoring, workshops, leadership skills, professional development, and graduate school preparation are supported via the involvement of numerous other campus units:

Additional engagement is provided via input from diversity clubs within the College of Engineering, including the American Indian Scientists and Engineers Society, the Black Engineers Association, the Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientist’s 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