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A panel of experts from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) discussed the benefits and challenges of establishing corporate partnerships during the 37th Annual BEYA STEM Conference in February 2023. They shared insights on current initiatives and ways companies can effectively collaborate with HBCUs.

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Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim engineering dean at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, stressed the importance of companies engaging with the university’s faculty, staff, and student organizations to develop a deeper understanding beyond recruiting talent.

Dr. John Anderson, dean of engineering and architecture at Howard University, echoed this sentiment and emphasized the success of Howard’s “vertically integrated program” in fostering relationships between students and corporate partners.

Dr. Michelle Roddenberry, associate dean of student affairs at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, recommended targeted initiatives to maintain momentum when working with partners.

During the discussion, Dr. Roddenberry also mentioned the increasing interest of students in undergraduate research opportunities and a $1.5 million grant from Northrop Grumman to support research projects in various fields.

Dr. Heshmat Aglan, dean of engineering at Tuskegee University, emphasized the need for industry to sponsor undergraduate labs and support HBCUs in graduating more students and increasing enrollment.

Dr. Dawit Haile, dean of engineering, science, and technology at Virginia State University, suggested growing faculty and providing teaching opportunities for Ph.D. graduates lacking experience.

Overall, the experts agreed that partnerships between HBCUs and industry can bring mutual benefits, with faculty driving these relationships and industry-supporting undergraduate research and real-world problem-solving opportunities for students.



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