About Us


Pillars of inclusive excellence diagram (Recruit, Educate, Retain, Elevate, Graduate)

Pillars of inclusive excellence

ASEE Diversity Recognition Program Bronze Medal

KU Engineering is committed to increasing the number of diverse engineers to address and create solutions for the complex, multicultural, multidisciplinary challenges that exist in today’s global society. IHAWKE addresses the needs of historically underrepresented students, including Indigenous, Hispanic, Black, women, first generation, queer and trans, Military-Affiliated, and students with disabilities.  

Founded in 1971, KU’s Engineering Diversity & Women’s Program is one of the oldest in the country and is home to the IHAWKe and KUEST programs. Students in these organizations learn to use engineering and computing to change the world, connect with others and conquer their classes.

Elaina Sutley and Palvih Bhana with Baby Jay

Elaina J. Sutley, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging at the University of Kansas School of Engineering and an Associate Professor in Structural Engineering. Professor Sutley serves as the Director for the KU Engineering Diversity and Women’s Programs. She earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering with an emphasis in community disaster resilience from Colorado State University in 2015, and a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Alabama, in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Dr. Sutley’s research is committed to highlighting disparities, and developing innovative solutions that support equity before, during and after disasters. She brings this same expertise and passion to her role as Associate Dean.

Palvih Bhana is the Program Coordinator for the KU Engineering Diversity and Women’s Programs at the University of Kansas School of Engineering.  She earned a master’s in Education in Student Affairs from the University of South Florida in 2007, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from KU in 2002.

In addition to Dr. Sutley and Ms. Bhana working towards the mission of the KU Engineering Diversity and Women’s Program, there is also an internal DEIB Committee consisting of engineering students, staff, and faculty, and an External Advisory Council consisting of alumni and local business partners. Together, DEIB priorities and initiatives are being evaluated and integrating throughout the School of Engineering.

The KU Engineering Diversity and Women’s Program is also supported by the passionate and generous gifts from many corporate and individual sponsors. We thank each and everyone of them for their continuous support that allows the IHAWKe and KUEST programs to connect with hundreds of diverse students spanning K-12 to KU undergraduate and graduate students.

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