DAVIS, Calif., June 27, 2017 – The UC Davis College of Engineering is pleased to announce the arrival of Melinda Seevers as assistant dean of development and external relations for the college. Seevers brings more than a decade of experience in building strategic relationships, communicating the mission of universities and managing teams.
A Southern California native, Seevers grew up going to air shows with her dad – an aerospace engineer and former U.S. Air Force pilot – sparking a lifelong passion for aviation. She soloed her first plane at 18 and knew that her career would involve aviation and engineering.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Seevers worked as a project engineer, small-business owner and independent contractor in the aerospace and aviation industries. In 2005, she transitioned into an engineering education and research position with the College of Engineering at Boise State University, a role that ultimately launched her into development and corporate relations.
In her new role, Seevers engaged students and industry through the creation of a lower division undergraduate internship program funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, part of the Engineering Schools of the West Initiative.
“I was very passionate about how we were recruiting and retaining women, underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students and former military,” Seevers says.
Not only was the pilot program essential to improving diversity and student retention rates within the college, it led to closer and more meaningful relationships with industry partners. Her work resulted in a 2006 paper, “Improving Engineering Undergraduate Retention via Research and Internships,” published by the American Society of Engineering Education.
The same year, Seevers became the first dedicated director of development for the College of Engineering at Boise State. As director, she successfully led the college’s first fundraising campaign and significantly advanced the college’s donor and grant program.
In 2011, Seevers relocated to the University of Colorado, Boulder where she served as senior director of corporate and foundation relations for their College of Engineering and Applied Science. While there, Seevers finalized a multi-million-dollar sponsorship, which resulted in significant annual contracted research directed to the university.
Now at UC Davis, Seevers is eager to work with college leadership to match the philanthropic goals of engineering alumni and industry with the vision and goals of the college. While she says her first few months will be dedicated to working closely with Dean Jennifer Curtis to understand leadership’s vision for the college, projects like the expansion of the Engineering Student Design Center and the Coffee Research Center are already on her radar.
“The college has some ambitious infrastructure expansions on the horizon,” she says. “I’m looking forward to working with development to see these projects come to life.”