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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources for Engineering

Discover some of the resources at Parks Library that cover issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering, and learn how to find more of these materials.

Biographies & profiles of BIPOC engineers

BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous, and People of Color"--BIPOC people have always been involved in engineering and inventing. However, due to persistent biases in the publishing world there are very few full-length books providing biographies or memoirs of these engineers.

Searches to try

Try these search terms in the ISU Library's Quick Search to find materials on this topic.

You may notice some gaps here. This isn't an oversight on the part of the ISU Library--there just aren't many books in this area to purchase, and much of what does get published is aimed at children rather than an academic audience.

Articles & podcasts

Books at the Library

Biography collections

The following dataset can be used to identify engineers and inventors from the pre-Abolition era that have been profiled in the AANB:

Niven, Steven J., 2021, "Enslaved People in the African American National Biography, 1508-1865",, Harvard Dataverse, V3, UNF:6:+xCci5GUcKGj3fDuuyiDxw== [fileUNF]

For biographies only available in the 2013 edition of the AANB, or to receive a PDF copy of a biography from the 2008 edition in Parks Library, please use Interlibrary Loan.

Biography databases

In these databases, it helps to know in advance who you are looking for, as biographies for people of color and people from other underrepresented groups are not typically marked as such in search results or lists of people. For example, you can browse for African Americans but would need to identify engineers by looking the people up elsewhere or viewing their biographies. You can also browse by people in science or engineering, but there is no indicator on that page as to which people belong to underrepresented groups.

You can filter your results to just men or just women in American National Biography, which may help narrow things down if you are interested in men or women of color in particular. (A whopping 3 out of 200+ biographies for engineers in this database are women as of November 2022.)