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Alana Winns, the chief content officer and editor-in-chief for Career Communications Group, gave the opening remarks at the one-day BEYA Leading Voices Summit on Friday morning.

The event, sponsored by UL Research Institutes, is part of a series of events hosted by Career Communications Group’s US Black Engineer magazine, the BEYA STEM Conference, and CCG’s STEM City USA. These events aim to showcase innovation at engineering schools accredited by ABET at historically Black colleges and universities.

The summit on Friday highlighted the collaboration between leading tech companies and diverse faculty, researchers, and students.

It also honored the original vision of collaboration and expanded participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) advocated by Eugene DeLoatch, the founding dean of the engineering school at Morgan State University, and Tyrone Taborn, the founding chief executive officer of Career Communications Group.

The event discussed groundbreaking research at HBCU campuses and the integral role that employers like UL Research Institutes, top supporters of HBCU engineering schools,  play in fostering innovation.

Dr. James Moore, the director of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation, was the keynote speaker at the summit.

In his address, Dr. Moore emphasized the vital role that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played in nurturing scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians for over 200 years.

Currently, HBCUs enroll about 9% of all Black undergraduates in the United States and produce a higher percentage of graduates in critical STEM fields such as engineering, mathematics, and biological sciences.

HBCU researchers are making remarkable innovations. For instance, at Lincoln University, researchers are creating a sustainability curriculum focused on food studies and social media engagement.

Additionally, researchers at Central Florida are developing a smart cane for visually impaired users, while North Carolina A&T researchers are working on drones to enhance the delivery of airborne packages.

Morgan State University recently launched a CREST center that focuses on advanced semiconductors and workforce development. The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST Centers) provide support to enhance the research capabilities of Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) by integrating education and research effectively.

Notably, in 2008, North Carolina A&T became the first HBCU to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) engineering research center award.

Dr. Moore stressed the importance of the National Science Foundation understanding the challenges faced by diverse scientific research investigators, emphasizing the significance of investing in minority-serving institutions for national security, economic growth, and social mobility.

Breakout sessions at the summit covered various topics, including the impact of HBCU alumni on workplaces, engineering innovation, and successful partnerships between HBCUs and industry.

The event was organized by Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), UL Research Institutes, Career Communications Group, The BEYA Experience, and USBE Magazine.

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