Schools up and down the country will probably stay closed for the rest of the academic year, but in preparation for when things get back to normal, and they will, colleges are offering high school seniors virtual tours. Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) offer all students an opportunity to develop their skills, talent, and potential.

These institutions train young people who go on to serve in professions in the public and private sectors. Because of this, organizations have come to value HBCUs as a significant talent pipeline.  Check out what these engineering deans have to say about research taking place at their universities:

Dr. Patrick Carriere: “Extreme weather and natural hazards can severely affect the power systems with even greater severity in the future smart grid. The adverse effects of such high-impact on critical infrastructure have resulted in growing needs to address power system resilience, provide emergency services and fast grid restoration. Compared to conventional power grids, a microgrid is less vulnerable to natural disasters due to its flexibility and reliability. With the Department of Homeland Security support, Southern University is using microgrids to improve the grid resilience and to provide emergency service in the aftermath of extreme events. This project will expose students in the research of microgrids, energy systems, and critical infrastructure resilience.”

Before returning to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. Derek Dunn held administrative positions at North Carolina A&T State University, Savannah State University, and Alabama A&M University. He has been involved with program accreditation agencies such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the American Council on Construction Education, American Chemical Society, the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

“Unmanned systems and control is an emerging technology that offers integrated hardware and software solutions to design autonomous vehicles such as drones and robotic systems. Recognizing the values and potentials of drone technology, faculty and students in engineering and aviation science at UMES lead interdisciplinary research to develop new types of drones and robotic systems for military and agricultural applications. Recently, a team of UMES engineering students was chosen to participate in the inaugural HBCU/MI Design Competition sponsored by the U.S. Army. The UMES design features an easy-to-assemble small-size quad-copter with four propellers and embedded wiring. UMES Engineering is aiming to be the leader of the future unmanned system technology.”

Dr. Zhengtao Deng: “Suppose that you could have any electronic gadget that you could imagine available to you on-demand? Suppose that you could make a biomedical sensor or detector look like anything you wanted, then produce it on the spot? The Morningbird Media Corporation (MBM) Electronic Alchemy (EA) eForge Printer will make this a reality. Under the support of the NASA STTR program, Alabama A&M University has been collaborating with MBM in the development of the prototype EA eForge printer using a unique additive manufacturing technique for the direct 3D multi-materials printing of functional electronics.”

Dr. J. Murray Gibson: “The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is proud to lead amongst HBCU’s in Ph.D. education, facilitated by the partnership of a large research 1 university, Florida State, with the leading public HBCU – Florida A&M. Last year we graduated 48 PhD’s of whom 5 were FAMU graduates. Our Ph.D. enrollment at FAMU has doubled in the last 5 years. This partnership has made us #4 in the nation for producing African American engineering Ph.D.’s, and we aim to be #1. Our external research expenditures exceeded $28M last year in areas including hypersonics, power systems, resilience, and high-performance nanomaterials.”

Dr. Joyce Shirazi: “Hampton University undergraduate engineering students are involved in research projects related to integrated photonics and optofluidics in collaboration with Brandeis University; biophotonics and biomedical engineering research in collaboration with the University of California; and the aviation students are mapping air traffic control procedures for the FAA to keep our airports safe. Our graduate architecture students are performing research that pertains to sea-level rise; research is cross-disciplinary and cross-university design work in the region. The program is the research laboratory for a National Science Foundation grant studying strategies to improve trans-disciplinary collaboration, now halfway through its work. Students in all departments of the School of Engineering and Technology are performing innovative research, leading to numerous scholarship opportunities and serving as catalysts for the recruitment and retention of talented students in science and engineering fields.”

Dr. John M. Anderson: “Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Tao Wei recently received the prestigious NSF CAREER award for his research on multiscale simulations of metal oxide nanoparticle-protein electron transfer. The overall research goal of Dr. Wei’s project is to understand the interactions between nanoparticles and metal-reducing bacteria for the advancement of nanobiotechnologies for environmental applications. The coupling of metal oxide nanoparticles with metal-reducing bacteria can generate continuous oxidation-reduction chemical processes that effectively remove toxic components from contaminated soil and water. Dr. Wei’s research activities and findings will be used to develop new course materials, creating invaluable research opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students, while diversifying the field of biomaterials engineering.”

Dr. Dawit Haile: “Here are a couple of research projects that are being conducted by faculty at Virginia State University. Adapting the recent technology of Blockchain and 5G communication network, faculty researchers are designing a reliable and trustworthy asset tracking architecture capable of transmitting cargo sensor data with low latency, seamless coverage, and real-time monitoring at the high data rate. The goal of the project is to improve the efficiency, accuracy, security, and safety of material and supply handling, management, storage, and distribution. A second researcher is developing a prototype for monitoring complex work environments that include human/manual components, machinery, and automation. The system can extract motion patterns and correlations between human activity, machine/controller data, and additional sensor data for process monitoring and improvement as well as knowledge capture and training.”

Dr. Heshmat Aglan: Greetings from Tuskegee University – Our recent research highlights and new initiatives include: Expanding our research activities in Materials Science and Engineering to include high Z materials for DOD and Nuclear systems applications, Aerospace additive manufacturing for NASA and in situ repair of rail defects for DOT. Engaging in more staffing and research contracts with NASA prime contractors that include Jacobs, Dynetics, SAIC and others. In fact, Tuskegee was the only University to win the Fiscal Year 2019 Center-level NASA Small Business Industry Award. We’ve also established a new scholarship endowment for Women in Engineering Leadership Development, named in honor of the Tuskegee University’s first female president, Lily McNair. Thank you!

Dr. Devdas Shetty: “Advanced Manufacturing is the focus of major Center grants from NSF and NASA received by the University of the District of Columbia. Through a $5 million NSF Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST), we are supporting student research and faculty development in areas such as nanoscale electronics for next-generation computers. The $3Million CAM-STAR focuses on advanced manufacturing techniques in space exploration technology especially the design of lightweight power components for small spacecraft, including power generation, energy storage, and thermal management. With support from the Department of Energy, we are creating much-needed components with a high-quality surface finish. The partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has opened an avenue for cutting edge research. All these partnerships are promoting the pursuit of STEM degrees and professional development in preparation of a diverse research-capable workforce.”

Dr. Craig Scott: “Morgan State University is designated by the State Legislature as Maryland’s Public Urban Research University. Enrolling about 1300 students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, the Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering at Morgan State University serves the world as an intellectual and creative resource by supporting, empowering and preparing high-quality, competitive graduates to grow the future, lead the world and innovate globally. We are pursuing three strategic research focus areas:· Transportation Systems, · Cybersecurity, and· Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. We are also proud to announce that Morgan State will be moving toward being the first HBCU to offer an Osteopathic Medicine Program.”

Dr. Robin N. Coger: “North Carolina A&T State University annually attracts over $63.4 Million in research dollars, where the faculty of our College of Engineering contributes to a significant proportion of that activity. In our Computer Science Department, Dr. Kaushik Roy and his team are ensuring our nation’s ability to authenticate and secure cyber-network traffic by leveraging novel detection methods, deep learning, data, and analytics. Additionally, a multidisciplinary team of our College of Engineering faculty and students — led by Dr. Ali Karimoddini — is advancing the reliable application of autonomous vehicle research and development in urban environments. Their successes resulted in the team placing “second in North America” in the 2019 SAE/GM Autodrive Competition.”

Dr. Michael Keeve: “The Norfolk State University (NSU) Cleanroom Facility (NCF) is a 6,000 square foot space designed to meet the ISO class 100/1000 standard. The NSU Cleanroom Facility (NCF) is a state-of-the-art facility that supports a broad range of nanoscale science, engineering and technology projects by providing state-of-the-art equipment and resources coupled with expert staff support and necessary training. Nanowires, nanostructures, and quantum dots are produced by using Electron Beam Lithography, Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), Pulse Laser Deposition (PLD), and Ultra-sonication to control materials structures and properties. Characterizations of the materials are performed by a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM: Hitachi HT 7800), a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM), an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), and a Raman Spectroscopy. In collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center, Smart Optics research is being done at NSU. Systems using multi-purpose materials and sensors are being developed for space and medical applications. These systems can be controlled by external stimuli, such as electric or magnetic fields.”

Dr. Pamela Obimon: “The Roy G. Perry College of Engineering at Prairie View A&M University has over 1,600 students, 85 outstanding faculty and researchers, and 12 productive research centers. The College offers 6 bachelor degrees and 5 graduate degrees including a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. The College ranks No. 3 in the nation in awarding undergraduate degrees in engineering to African-Americans. The most active areas of research in the College are big data analytics, machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. In the Big Data Analytics Center, our researchers and students are conducting research in Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) to make machines behave like human beings. “

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