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Renee Gordon, a mechanical engineering graduate, Marcella Carnes, a civil engineering graduate, and Shannon Anderson, a biomedical engineering scholar, made headlines in May 2017 when the three Florida A&M University (FAMU) students earned their Ph.Ds.

Carnes received her doctorate of philosophy in civil engineering with a concentration in structures. Gordon received her doctorate of philosophy in mechanical engineering, and Anderson received her doctorate of philosophy in civil engineering, with a concentration in environmental engineering.

“We realize that we’re breaking barriers when it comes to minorities and also women in STEM fields,” Gordon said at a press conference. “I feel like it’s really important for our young black and brown boys and girls to know that they can aspire to be whatever they want to be including engineers.”

“I feel proud to be an African-American woman in the STEM fields,” Carnes said. “We’ve been challenged because STEM is male-dominated, (but) we are examples of the things that you can set your mind toward and finish.”

“Not only did we receive the financial support, but we also received emotional support; we received the bond that we share in this community and a family that’s striving to achieve the same goal. We have a shoulder to lean on when we feel like we can’t move on,” said Carnes.

In 2014, they lost colleague Tarra M. Beach, an environmental engineering doctoral candidate. Her goal was to “contribute to the sustainability of the environment and work on STEM education with underrepresented children.”

“She would have been the first woman to graduate with her engineering Ph.D., from the Title III program at FAMU. So, we were next in line to just follow her example, her dedication, her passion, and drive,” Anderson said.

According to FAMU, the mission of Title III Programs is to ensure that federal resources are used to assist the university in becoming self-sufficient and expanding its capacity to serve low-income students.

Save these dates on your calendar to learn more about this year’s crop of outstanding graduates.

Spring 2020 Commencement

Florida A&M University, Saturday, May 9

Howard University, Saturday, May 9

Prairie View A&M University, Saturday, May 9

Hampton University, Sunday, May 10

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