NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –The College of Engineering at Tennessee State University was one of 22 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and six Department of Energy sites to recently receive part of a $4 million grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The funding launches NNSA’s new Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program, a consortium program organized to build a sustainable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics pipeline between DOE plants and laboratories, and HBCUs.
The partnership program is designed to enrich the STEM capabilities of HBCUs in a sustainable manner that aligns with the broad interests of DOE sites and emphasizes the entire career pipeline. The partnership also provides STEM students with the cutting edge resources and technology housed at DOE facilities, ultimately increasing STEM student retention.
“Hands-on participation in research is imperative for students in the STEM field,” said Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA’s chief scientist. “The MSIPP will provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to state-of-the-art facilities and research, creating an opportunity to expand their knowledge and further prepare them for a career in STEM fields.”
The College of Engineering will benefit from this funding with research in nano-materials. In partnership with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the College will begin to examine ways to better engineer materials for capturing energy, more specifically; using platinum-based nanostructures. Research has demonstrated catalytic activity to harness energy for multiple applications, including fuel cells.
Led by Dr. Lizhi Ouyang, Assistant Professor of Physics, a team of undergraduate and graduate students will conduct experiments to advance the knowledge of catalytic novel materials, particularly in platinum-based battery research. These efforts support the research agenda of the new TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, to advance research in cyber-security, computation, nano-materials and renewable energy systems.
“An interdisciplinary approach to address and solve problems in science and engineering is critical to shortening the product development cycle from laboratory to commercial use,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering and Director of the TIGER Institute. “We are promoting STEM faculty to do more collaboration and aggressively pursue opportunities that exist with federal laboratories and industry to enhance the quality of our academic curriculums for our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”
The College of Engineering also recently continued a partnership with Boeing to further research of aircraft systems, providing nearly $600,000 worth of funding, and received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to promote research in applied mathematics and curriculum development.
The National Nuclear Security Administration was established by Congress in 2000 as a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, and is responsible for the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs.