Here’s what’s happening at Tuskegee: a new Makers Course and Laboratory for STEM Undergraduates, a center for sustainable lightweight materials, and biological Big Data research for student training and education.

A National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project aims to give science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) juniors and seniors real-life industry experiences.

The  Makers Course and associated Maker’s Laboratory is designed to provide students with workforce readiness and/or graduate school preparation.

According to the NSF, Makerspaces are a dedicated area where STEM students meet for hands-on research in advanced fields such as smart materials, nanocomposites, biomaterials, and computation modeling.

The program will focus on material science and engineering, increased summer research internships opportunities, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation, workshops for the Graduate Research Fellowship Programs and STEM-Related Workforce.

Separately, the NSF announced that Tuskegee University will continue development of its Center for Sustainable Lightweight Materials in collaboration with Auburn University, Cornell University and national laboratories around the country.

The work will speed up the development of multiscale advanced lightweight materials with potential applications in automotive, building, biomedical and tissue engineering, where synthetic materials are toxic, non-degradable and non-sustainable.

The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program will enhance STEM research and education at Tuskegee University, provide exposure to students from middle school to the doctoral level, and to the general public, including persons with disabilities.

In another effort, Tuskegee, in partnership with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Spelman College, and West Virginia University, will integrate biological big data into student training and education.

The team will enhance faculty expertise in big biological data through summer workshops, big data research and education through hackathons, and community-building via a Video Education Faculty Network.

The proposed activities will address the challenges surrounding the integration of big biological data into education and training at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The project will also help bridge the gaps between big biological data and the fields of systems biology, ecology and evolution, and environmental sciences.

Overall, the project will catalyze collaborations among diverse institutions and disciplines while increasing diversity in big data, the NSF said.

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