Michele Lezama 

Michele Lezama

Graduate and Organizational Diversity Strategist, Minority Engineering Program

mlezama@purdue.edu

Michele Lezama, M.S. and MBA, is currently the Graduate and Organizational Diversity Strategist for Purdue University’s Minority Engineering Program (MEP). In this role, she is responsible for recruiting domestic underrepresented graduate students for Purdue’s College of Engineering as well as enhancing Purdue’s relationships with national organizations focused on diversity in STEM.

Michele was the CEO and Executive Director of The National GEM Consortium prior to her current role with MEP. GEM, a 501c(3) organization is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented individuals who pursue and receive a masters or PhD in engineering or science by providing full fellowships. Michele is credited for creating a national program called GRAD Lab (Getting Ready for Advanced Degree Laboratory), leveraging GEM’s national network of university partners, to provide students with critical information on the STEM graduate application process and national funding opportunities. During her tenure at GEM, Michele was an employee of Notre Dame, Educational Testing Service, and ultimately positioned GEM as a stand-alone organization where she reported solely to the GEM Board of Directors.

Prior to GEM, Michele served as Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), a 501c(3) student run organization. She is credited for turning around the organization’s financial position from risking payroll to acquiring a new headquarters facility tripling the organization’s capital position and creating a long-term investment structure. Under her leadership, NSBE received the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awarded by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology.

Prior to NSBE, Michele was the Director of Satellite Scrambling Operations at Home Box Office (HBO), a Time Warner Company, and prior to HBO she served as the Associate Director of Broadcast Operations and System Integration at Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Prior to her media career, Michele was an engineer with IBM in their Poughkeepsie, Manhattan, and Brooklyn facilities.

Michele earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, and both her M.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University. She was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Pi Mu, and is an alumnus of Robert Toigo Financial Services and The National GEM Consortium fellowship programs.

A native New Yorker, Brooklyn by way of The Bronx, Michele’s straight forwardness and dry wit would make the city proud. She is married to Ricardo Lezama. They have two daughters.

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