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By taking part in pre-college programs, rising high school juniors and seniors can prepare for success and perhaps, become master educators.

Emmanuel Collins doesn’t remember what spurred his interest in engineering, but in high school he caught the bug to join a program designed to introduce minority high school students to the world of engineering. The program offered a great opportunity to take part in hands-on engineering projects with college faculty and students and experience the challenge of college-level academics.

Fired up after the 6-week course, Collins enrolled in a dual degree program between Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary science from Morehouse, and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He also won the “Most Outstanding Dual Degree Engineering Student” honor in his graduating class. In 1987, he earned his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.

Dr. Collins joined Harris Corporation as an associate principal engineer in the Controls Technology Group.

Harris is a communications company, defense contractor and information technology services provider that produces wireless equipment, tactical radios, electronic systems, night vision equipment and both terrestrial and spaceborne antennas for use in the government, defense and commercial sectors. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company now has more than 23,000 employees – including 9,000 engineers and scientists.

Collins spent 7 years in research and development at Harris. He left the corporation for a joint position as associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and the College of Engineering at Florida State University (FSU).

‘Master educator’

Dr. Collins’ career had come full circle.

Education and raising public awareness in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are closely linked.

As director of the FSU chapter of FAMU’s Florida-Georgia Alliance for Minority Participation Program, he works to increase the recruitment, retention, and matriculation of minority students in STEM.

As a professor, his instructional methods in control, robotics and dynamics are impactful and memorable. He has mentored hundreds of FAMU-FSU students.

Inspired by their experience, many have chosen careers in STEM and two of his former students are now his partners in research. Dr. Collins’s research interests are in control and guidance of autonomous vehicles and electric powered wheelchairs in extreme environments and situations, coordination of teams of heterogeneous agents (including human-robot teams), flow control, and applications of modern control approaches to energy management.

He is chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, John H. Seely Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, Control and Robotics at the Florida A&M University and Florida State University College of Engineering.


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