NSF-backed ‘team of teams’ raises bids for



HOUSTON – (September 27, 2021) – Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, Rice University and Texas Southern University to share nearly $ 5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support scholarships of studies for students seeking a master’s degree in engineering and related fields.

The United States Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is also a key partner.

The NSF project, Improving Access to Career Development and Education (I-ACED), incorporates internships and research experiences to prepare students for careers in engineering and beyond, according to Yvette pearson, former associate dean for accreditation, evaluation and strategic initiatives at Rice George R. Brown School of Engineering, who spearheaded the grant effort.

“Having an affinity for acronyms, I called it the ‘FIRE’ model: flexible internships, research and education,” said Pearson, now vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University. from Texas to Dallas.

The grant will support 220 students from disadvantaged backgrounds seeking a master’s degree in engineering, computer science, mathematics and data science.

Students will choose from disciplines in one of three technical streams: biotechnology, sustainability and resilience, and digital twinning, a virtual model technique that uses real-time data to support simulations and decision making.

The technical tracks were chosen because of their links with ERDC’s strategic plan and their importance as areas of national need.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring the workforce perspective to this effort and help identify some technological challenges that will need to be addressed,” said Alexandre quincy, Head of the Software Engineering and Computing Division at the Information Technology Laboratory of ERDC.

“I-ACED is designed to help students make the most of their graduate study experience through industry internships, research experiences, mentoring and professional development, while reducing the cost of a master’s program, ”said Matthew Wettergreen, principal investigator of the project, associate professor at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Cuisine and director of global medical innovation in the Department of Bioengineering.

I-ACED will provide $ 3 million in scholarships – $ 750,000 to each partner institution – as well as funding to support academic development, evaluation, research and project administration.

Azime Saydam, acting dean of the Texas Southern College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, noted that the focus on master’s students makes the program unique.

“This grant will enable talented low-income students to pursue and earn a master’s degree in computer science, mathematics and other STEM disciplines,” Saydam said.

“As we seek to increase the number of students pursuing graduate studies in STEM, support from NSF will help foster sustainability in academia and research,” added Jacqueline Jackson, associate professor of computer science at Jackson State.

“While scholarships can ease the financial burden of higher education, we have long recognized at PVAMU that scholarships are not enough to ensure success for low-income or minority students,” said Sherri Frizell, professor of computer science at Prairie View A&M. “We believe this unique partnership will allow us to collectively create a program that will support the student’s successful enrollment in graduate programs and in the workforce.

Magesh Rajan, vice president of the Research and Innovation Division at Prairie View, noted that the program “will enhance workforce development and innovation. In addition, this partnership provides more research experience for our graduate students and could possibly inspire our master’s students to pursue their doctorate. at PVAMU.

Several features make I-ACED unique. “Many programs support undergraduate or doctoral students, while master’s students are often overlooked,” Pearson noted. “This program deliberately highlights cutting-edge research from our partner institutions. While many projects build their research studies around the students themselves, our research component focuses on the structure, the ecosystem that we have created for I-ACED.

The objective of the research component of the project, led by Eduardo Salas, Professor and Allyn R. and Gladys N. Cline Chair in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice, is to understand how a “teams” approach brings together stakeholders from different organizational cultures toward a common goal.

“Our partnership with ERDC is one of the main strengths of the project,” said Pearson. “Having a strong and deeply engaged workforce in the project is an advantage for the four partner universities, for the students and for ERDC.

“Masters programs are most rewarding when students can use their experiences to launch into their next career steps,” Wettergreen said. “We expect this program to produce graduates who add value beyond their core courses in industry preparation and professional skills.”

Read the details of the rewards on the NSF websites for Jackson State, A&M Prairie View, Rice and South Texas.


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This press release can be viewed online at https://news-network.rice.edu/news/2021/09/27/nsf-backed-team-of-teams-raises-stakes-for-masters-students/.

About Jackson State University:

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, research-intensive university located in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. Jackson State’s stimulating academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially referred to as the Urban University of Mississippi, Jackson State continues to improve the state, nation, and world through comprehensive economic development, health care, technology and education initiatives. The only public university in metro Jackson, Jackson State is located near the city center, with five satellite sites throughout the region. For more information visit www.jsums.edu or dial 601-979-2121.

About Prairie View A&M University:

Designated as a “first class” institution in the Texas Constitution, Prairie View A&M University is the second oldest public higher education institution in the state. With an established reputation for producing engineers, nurses and educators, PVAMU offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at eight colleges and schools. A member of the Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land granting mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research and service. For more information on PVAMU, visit www.pvamu.edu.

About Rice University:

Located on a 300-acre wooded campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the country by US News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of architecture, business, continuing education, engineering, humanities, music, natural and social sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 4,052 undergraduates and 3,484 graduating students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6: 1. Her residential college system builds close-knit communities and lasting friendships, one of the reasons Rice is ranked # 1 for many race / class interactions and # 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also ranked as the best value for money among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

About the University of South Texas:

Texas Southern University (TSU) honors its designation as a specialized institution for urban programming and research. TSU is a comprehensive university providing access to higher education to underserved communities nationwide. TSU’s academic and research programs address critical urban issues and prepare its diverse student body to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and professional degrees – organized in 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s Historic Third Quarter. Texas Southern has been an educational pioneer since 1927, and the university has grown into one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many of them are the first in their families to attend.


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