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A project being called ‘one of a kind’ is expected to increase diversity in smart technology research, jobs, and opportunity.

The three-year, National Science Foundation-funded effort announced Wednesday will involve colleges that are top producers of Black engineers and one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions with an 80 percent Mexican-American student population.

Led by Morgan State University, Maryland’s preeminent public urban research university, the $2.3-million project funded by the National Science Foundation will train 30 college students and 15 teachers in smart technologies.

Beyond remote controlled gadgets and devices in our homes, more and more city traffic lights, energy meters, health care facilities, and schools use sensors to collect data that improve the lives of people in cities explained Kofi Nyarko, an associate professor in Morgan State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Nyarko, the principal investigator for the project, has worked as a Software engineer in visual analytics and machine learning.

He said Smart cities will require engineers who know how sensor devices work. Smart cities will also need engineers who understand algorithms, the steps used to perform computer-based tasks, and how to extract the data to improve the lives of citizens, he said.

“I applaud Dr. Nyarko for his leadership role in developing this project,” said Craig Scott, interim dean of Morgan’s Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering. “We look forward to the impact this effort will make on engineering diversity and the quality of life in our urban communities.

Nyarko is director of the Engineering Visualization Research Laboratory at Morgan State. Under his direction, the laboratory has acquired and conducted research with funding from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, and the Department of Homeland Security to name a few.

“This project is one of a kind,” said Nyarko. “It involves HBCUs and HSIs in a way that will bring research experience to a wide Hispanic and African-American population, moving the needle in the representation of Africans Americans and Hispanics in masters and doctoral programs in engineering. I am very excited about this.”

HBCU/HSI consortium for the REU-RET Mega-Site project

  • Morgan State University
  • Alabama A&M University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Hampton University
  • Howard University
  • Jackson State University
  • Norfolk State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Southern University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • University of Texas at El Paso


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