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EDUCATION CONT’D


Research Undergraduate Program) to meet the “challenge of preparing engineering and science undergraduates for ‘Leadership for America and the Global Community.’”


Fleming sees enormous opportunities and challenges on the civil engineering horizon. Issues include providing potable water in Kenya and Ethiopia, expanding transportation routes in burgeoning countries like Nigeria and Indonesia, building and upgrading air, land, and sea infrastructure globally and preparing for natural disasters.


GEAR UP, which Fleming created in 2011, was a natural outgrowth of HUSEM, and a way to expand its philosophy internationally. The program has a $3.6 million National Science Foundation grant and support from the Howard University office of the provost.


Since then, 96 students have gone through the program, and nine are currently in STEM graduate, including doctoral, programs. Two students attend Howard: one a Ph.D. candidate in computer science education, and the other a prospective Master of Science in chemical engineering.


“Previously our STEM outreach to the global community was very limited and our foreign students and faculty members said Howard should go global to do research. But in order to help students maintain their academic schedule and graduate on time, we decided to create four-week summer research projects opportunities in 13 developing and emerging market countries. Students could have a significant research abroad experience while maintaining their academic schedule,” says Fleming.


A key person in setting up GEAR UP was Wayne Patterson, a senior fellow for international programs and program review at the Howard University Graduate School, and a professor of computer science.


In 2013, GEAR UP sent 32 students to do research, and field work, in South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, and the Philippines. In a university press release, interim dean Fleming said, “Our mission at Howard is to produce leaders for America and the global community. GEAR UP is doing just that by allowing students a first-hand opportunity to practice as engineers and scientists in a global setting.”


A number of the students have gone abroad more than once, but they do not go back to the same country. Students who began in HUSEM have also joined GEAR UP, and then moved on to graduate school.


There are also Howard students who are members of both Howard University’s Engineers without Borders (EWB) and the GEAR UP programs, although their focuses differ. Fleming says EWB is a service-oriented organization and GEAR UP is research-driven.


For example, GEAR UP might study how to provide clean drinking water in rural Kenya, and Engineers Without Borders would assist Kenyans in building and maintain more efficient wells.


HUSEM and GEAR UP related events Interim dean Fleming says there are other novel STEM- related events which have a connection to both HUSEM and GEAR UP. One is the Howard University Institute for Entrepreneurship Leadership and Innovation’s Global Entrepreneurship Initiative.


Last February, Howard was selected as one of 12 universities to take part in the inaugural cohort of the new Pathways to Innovation program. It was created by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation to assist universities combine entrepreneurship and innovation into undergraduate engineering education.


Of course, everyone wants to know how might HUSEM or GEAR UP experience help you find a job. Paige Piggott, who has both, knows. In 2013, Piggott, who works at SC Johnson & Son, Inc. as a development engineer, packaging, graduated with a Howard B.S. degree in mechanical engineering.


In 2011, at Ethiopia’s University of Bahir Dar, she assisted in the development of renewable energy sources to provide increased electricity to small villages. The previous summer at the Universidad Santo Tomas in Chile, Piggott worked towards developing a method to differentiate between high-traffic events and denial of service attacks on web sites.


All of which probably looked pretty good on her resume. by Frank McCoy, fmccoy@ccgmag.com


www.womenofcolor.net


WOMENOFCOLOR | FALL 2014


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