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Howard University Hosts 30 Future Scientists, Engineers, Mathematicians

By Andre Nicholson
University News
Monday, August 09, 2010

At the end of the nearly four-week academically enriched program this summer, 30 high school students are much more knowledgeable in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) due to the annual Howard University Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (HU MSEIP).

The program, which is in its second year, is run by mechanical engineering Professor Emmanuel Glakpe, Ph.D., Howard University College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences.

During HU MSEIP, high school juniors from all across the country are engaged in research activities, field experiments, offered tours of research facilities, participated in symposiums and seminars that expand their knowledge of current technology in science, engineering and communication skills.

“Students were absolutely having fun and engaging in subject areas such as physics, engineering, chemistry and other life skill classes,” said Jason Alexis (B.S. ’10), a mechanical engineering graduate who served as the evaluator and research assistant for the program this summer. “They have done college level presentations, designed posters and worked with advanced simulation and modeling software, solving real life problems.”

Alexis interacted with the students, faculty and staff. He conducted short rapport sessions with the students and gave them input on their team projects, presentation skills and the college experience. He said it is extremely important for more minority students to consider careers in a STEM-related field.

Faculty members who participated in lecturing the students included Professors Grant Warner, Nicki Washington, John Harkless, Marcus Alfred and Evens Dure from Archbishop Carroll High School. Other program mentors and chaperones included Ashley Johnson, Nirvanna Deonauth, Iran Heavey, Quincy Stewart, Jason Alexis, Keron Bradshaw and Sheku Kamara.

“The number of minority students who are in STEM related fields do not represent the populous of the United States,” Alexis said. “I think more can be done. STEM jobs usually provide stability and a sense of satisfaction. Additionally, advancement in these STEM fields needs the full input of all constituents, so the final solutions will positively benefit all concerned.

“On the flip side, great entrepreneurship and scholarly opportunities are derived from these advancements that ensure the minority communities can gain resources and are enabled to develop sustainable business and scholarly success for the benefit of future generations within and outside those communities.”

Alexis is confident that the students are the future scientists, engineers and mathematicians, because many of them expressed their interest in attending Howard and studying areas within STEM after the program.

“Over the course of the program, I feel that I have truly grown as a person,” said Tia Watkins, of Maret School in Washington, D.C. “I have acquired new, useful skills such as molecular modeling, computer animation and science, and virtual design using computer programs like GAMBIT, FLUENT, NX and GaussView and ALICE.

“We worked with various professors with a range of knowledge from physics to chemistry to engineering; absorbing their professional feedback to better our own work. I sincerely believe that the culmination of everything I have learned at this program will make me far more prepared to pursue a future in science.”

Many of the students share Watkins’ sentiments, and as they went back to their hometowns across the country and prepared to settle back into their last year of high school, they did so much more knowledgeable and prepared to tackle the world ahead.

“When I returned to North Carolina, I believe I came back more mature, educated, and appreciative,” said Victoreah Brunson of Success Institute High School in Greensboro, N.C. “I say mature because living on my own for three and a half weeks really taught me to stop relying on my mom and take things into my own hands.”

“I say educated because I know much more about the STEM related subjects than I did before I came, and I say appreciative because of Mrs. (Emma) Johnson, program assistant, reminding us how blessed we are.”

“Lifetime friends have been made, great relationships have been started and successful STEM related careers are planted in us because of HU MSEIP. Howard University is now at the top of my college list. So, I hope to see you in a year."

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