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Winter 2012/Spring 2013



Diversity/Careers Winter 2012/Spring 2013 Issue



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News and Views


UTEP and EU students receive dual degrees

El Paso, TX – The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) began a dual masters degree program in transportation and logistics in 2010 and has now graduated its first participant.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the European Union's education agency, the exchange program requires participating students to attend three universities. Students take transportation courses at UTEP for one year; the second year is spent studying at two European universities: Czech Technical University (CTU) in the Czech Republic and the University of Zilinia in the Slovak Republic. Participants earn two masters degrees: one from UTEP and another from one of the partner universities in Europe.

"This is groundbreaking," says Dr Kelvin Cheu, UTEP associate professor of civil engineering. "Students register in our masters program. Their UTEP credits will transfer to European universities and their European credits will transfer to UTEP, providing them with a second degree. It's like getting a European degree for free."

"This is a great opportunity for students to learn how the transportation system works in Europe and get worldwide experience," says Dr Carlos Ferregut, professor of civil engineering and director of global engineering programs in UTEP's college of engineering. "Programs like this allow us to be players in the international engineering education arena. I am already seeing a lot of interest from my engineering faculty colleagues to pursue similar programs in other engineering areas."

Alejandra Gallegos, a civil engineering graduate student at UTEP, earned a masters of engineering in technology in transportation and telecommunication from CTU in Prague in May, and received her masters in civil engineering from UTEP when she returned to El Paso in late June. She was the first UTEP student to participate in the program. "This program develops our students' adaptability. It makes them more comfortable with different cultures and exposes them to different ways to conduct business in these fields. Of course, they also earn two masters degrees, which makes them more marketable," says Ferregut.


WPI creates program to train leaders in biofabrication

Worcester, MA – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) began a new program in biofabrication this past August, funded by a five-year, $3 million award from the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. It brings together faculty from WPI's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center and its School of Business to train students to think innovatively, like entrepreneurs, and to approach their science and engineering work with a greater understanding of what it takes to move a discovery or technological advance from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The students take the typical courses in their engineering major but also take courses created for the IGERT program. Some of the topics include how to seek and identify entrepreneurial opportunities, how to go from creativity to innovation, building a team, selling an idea and acquiring funding. There is also a professional development course requirement. Students will work on proposal writing and presentation skills and take lessons in ethics, mentorship and global perspective.

According to Dr Terri Camesano, professor of chemical engineering, the need for the program was due to what is often described as the "valley of death," which separates researchers working on very fundamental problems from industry, which needs solutions. The goal is for students to become translators of their technology, helping to bridge the gap between fundamental science and societal solutions to biomedical problems.

WPI is focused on recruiting a diverse population of students and it is a top goal in student recruiting for IGERT and all PhD programs.


Siemens PLM Software launches college programs

Plano, TX – Siemens PLM Software announced two new college programs to help revitalize manufacturing throughout the United States, and to prepare students for growing opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The first program, developed in conjunction with Iowa Western Community College (www.iwcc.edu), provides a two-year, fast-track curriculum developed by an advisory board of academia and industry, with an emphasis on upgrading current worker skills as well as training dislocated and minority-categorized workers. The curriculum introduces participants to product design and development software technology used by many manufacturing, architectural and construction companies.

The second program, developed with Oakland University's Industrial Systems Engineering department (www.oakland.edu/ise) is a new PLM course offering that focuses on manufacturing technology, using PLM's solution for integrated computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering. The course also highlights the integration of people, data, processes and business systems within a company's extended enterprise.

"Strong partnerships among employers, training providers and all levels of government are crucial to ensure that our country has the skilled and experienced workforce to remain a global manufacturing leader," says Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training at the U.S. Department of Labor. "By focusing attention on specific training needs in areas like data management and high-tech manufacturing, these partnerships are helping community colleges become community career centers. That's a model the President and I fully support." President Obama referenced the need for STEM education initiatives during his January 2012 State of the Union address, and returned to it many times after that.

"As the baby boom generation retires and product complexity continues to grow, students who can use PLM technology are expected to be heavily recruited," says Bill Boswell, senior director, partner strategy, Siemens PLM Software.

For information on Siemens PLM, see www.plm.automation.siemens.com.


Clemson leads U.S. in recruiting tenure-track black faculty in computer science

Clemson, SC – Clemson University (www.clemson.edu) has recruited six African American tenure-track faculty members to its school of computing, according to Juan Gilbert, chairman of the human-centered computing division in the school. There are a total of fifty-six African American CS tenure-track faculty in the U.S., according to a Computing Research Association survey.

Clemson's faculty includes, in addition to Gilbert, assistant professors Shaundra Daily, who has a PhD from MIT; Christina Gardner, PhD from Georgia Tech; Kyla McMullen, PhD from Michigan; Sekou Remy, PhD from Georgia Tech; and associate professor Damon Woodard, PhD from Notre Dame.

"This means ten percent of all African American computing science faculty at U.S. research institutions are at Clemson," Gilbert says.

Clemson also has 10 percent of U.S. African American PhD candidates in its school of computing. There is a national shortage of qualified minority students entering and completing computer science graduate programs.

"When you have underrepresented individuals developing ideas in areas like computer science, you find that those ideas are often different from the norm," Gilbert said. "Our diversity helps us generate different solutions to real-world problems. Our diversity is a source of inspiration."

Leon Wiles, chief diversity officer at Clemson, notes that the human-centered computing division is a leading example of inclusivity at a major research institution.

"This is an outstanding achievement that moves Clemson's diversity agenda forward," Wiles said. "We're ecstatic about the progress Dr Gilbert's program has made and excited to see diversity spread throughout other programs at Clemson as well."


U.S. Army promotes education during Hispanic Heritage Month

Alexandria, VA – The U.S. Army again joined the nation in recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, by highlighting the educational, leadership and career opportunities it provides for Hispanic youth. The Army partnered with key Latino organizations, supporting programs and events hosted by the University of Texas-Pan American, New Futuro, LULAC National Education Service Centers, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and Great Minds in STEM.

Hispanics currently represent nearly 24 percent of all K-12 public school students and are the largest minority group among the nation's four-year college and university students. However, a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education points out that Hispanic youth are far more likely to drop out of high school than other groups, and Latino students who make it to college are far less likely to graduate than students of other ethnicities.

Because of this disparity, the Army has renewed its commitment to work with national and local Hispanic organizations to narrow the education gap by ensuring students, teachers and parents are aware of the resources and benefits the Army provides to support academic success.

"The U.S. Army has a longstanding commitment to educating our nation's youth and ensuring they receive the tools and training needed to succeed in their chosen field," said John Myers, director of marketing, Army marketing and research group. "By forming partnerships with these important organizations, we are able to help thousands of students reach their academic and career goals, and in doing so, help strengthen our communities and our nation."


BAE Systems partners with Northern Virginia Community College to support STEM programs

Arlington, VA – BAE Systems has announced a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

As part of the partnership, BAE Systems sponsored NOVA's Geospatial Leaders Summer Program. The program, which ran from June 22 to July 20, was designed to introduce at-risk students from Northern Virginia high schools to geospatial intelligence studies. BAE Systems volunteers acted as mentors throughout the program, helping students develop skills such as resume building, networking, and job interviewing techniques.

"This program opens students' minds to new possibilities, educating them about exciting career opportunities in our field," said Jordan Becker, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems' geospatial intelligence business. "It is critical for high-tech companies like BAE Systems to support STEM education programs and actively engage with young people to ensure the United States has the highly technically skilled workforce of the future. Our national security depends on it."

With more than 75,000 students and 2,600 faculty and staff, NOVA (www.nvcc.edu) is the largest educational institution in Virginia and the second largest community college in the United States. It offers more than 160 associates degrees and certificate programs.

The geospatial intelligence unit of BAE Systems develops geospatial data and geospatial information systems (GIS) applications for the Department of Defense and several federal agencies. It is also a major regional supplier of remote sensing, cartography, application-specific databases, data conversion and GIS solutions for state and local governments, as well as industry. For more info, visit www.baesystems.com.


Inroads honors Chevron as philanthropic leader

St. Louis, MO – Minority internship nonprofit Inroads recently presented its Transformation Award to the Chevron Corporation. The award recognized Chevron's sustained support of the Inroads mission. This award was accepted on behalf of Chevron by Cynthia Murray, portfolio manager for university affairs, and Jirong Xiao, vice president of products and technology.

For more than twenty years, Chevron funding has advanced Inroads' recruitment and training of STEM students around the country.

"With gratitude and humility, we recognize the investment Chevron has made in creating opportunities for underserved youth through the Inroads process," said Forest T. Harper, Inroads president and CEO.

"Chevron is honored to support Inroads in its efforts to develop and place talented underserved students in business and industry, and prepare them for corporate and community leadership," said John S. Watson, chairman and CEO. "Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community."

Inroads uses a blended learning model that includes monthly coaching and advising, classroom and online training, experiential learning, and community service. Inroads has placed students in over 127,000 paid internships throughout its history. To learn more, visit www.inroads.org.


ONR's diversity outreach efforts recognized

Arlington, VA – For the sixth consecutive year, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) earned recognition for its outstanding support of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority institutions (MIs), officials announced in August.

In its annual issue naming "top supporters of the HBCU engineering schools," U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine highlighted ONR based on input from engineering deans at fourteen institutions certified by ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

"ONR is responsible for coordinating science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education programs across the Department of the Navy, and our organization has a tradition of focusing these activities on a diverse audience," said Dr Anthony Junior, director, Department of the Navy HBCU/MI program office. "Our outreach to these communities ensures that we're drawing on the largest talent pool possible for future naval scientists and engineers."

ONR places a great value on diversity outreach initiatives. Recently, the organization was named a "best diversity company" for a fifth consecutive year by Diversity/Careers. ONR was recognized for its continued commitment to promoting workplace diversity in the magazine's sixth annual readers' choice survey.

ONR provides the science and tech-nology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. For more information, go to www.onr.navy.mil.


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