Tag Archives: IBM

TSU joins nation’s first quantum education and research initiative through partnership with tech giant IBM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University says it looks forward to students being on the cutting edge of technology in the fields of finance, digital manufacturing and military affairs now that the institution is a member of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. TSU announced today that it has joined the nation’s first quantum education and research initiative for historically black colleges and universities. The aim of the center is to help students and faculty build skills in quantum computing and increase diversity and inclusion in the field.

TSU President Glenda Glover

“With the creation of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and aerospace designing just to name a few, quantum computing has quickly become an emerging technology,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center partnership helps TSU prepare our students and faculty to be innovators in this field. It is an absolute game-changer when we consider our current climate and how research could lead to new discoveries in medicine and drug development.”

TSU is one of 10 newly added institutions that comprise the 23 HBCUs that have joined the Center to date. As part of the initiative, TSU will have access to IBM quantum computers on the cloud, as well as opportunities for joint collaboration on research, education, and community outreach programs.

“IBM’s priority in launching the Center is to support and facilitate quantum research and education for HBCU faculty and students as part of the growing quantum workforce,” said Dr. Kayla Lee, Product Manager for Community Partnerships, IBM Quantum. “We’re proud to continue building on the momentum of the founding institutions and looking forward to collaborating with Tennessee State University to build a quantum future.”

Established in September 2020, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It emphasizes the power of community and focuses on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy, and special projects. 

Junior Jeia Moore

Jeia Moore, a junior from Memphis, Tennessee majoring in business information systems at TSU, said she’s glad the university is now part of the Center.

“IBM has opened opportunities for me, my peers, and my university,” she said. “Having a firsthand experience of the nation’s first quantum initiative for HBCUs will allow me to grow and develop in the computing world. I am grateful to see companies invest in me, my peers, and Tennessee State University.”

IBM continues to deliver on the Center’s goal to build a sustainable quantum research and education program by increasing the number of black students educated in Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE), strengthening research efforts of faculty at HBCUs in QISE, providing opportunities for scholarships, fellowships and internships, and empowering HBCUs to lead in the quantum workforce and broader black communities. The 25 HBCUs participating in the Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields.

“Tennessee State University is proud to be invited to partner in the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center,” said Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at TSU. “This partnership will provide our faculty and students with excellent opportunities to pursue research and specific tasks in quantum and its impact on computing, a leading technology guiding fields across business and industry.”

Iris Ramey, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at TSU, agreed.

“Our students and faculty are anxious to begin the high level of research and learning that the Center will require,” said Ramey. “We are grateful to IBM for this opportunity.“

For more information about the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, read HBCU Center Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Quantum Computing.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

IBM Executives say TSU Students developing right Skills for tech workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two IBM executives were on campus recently to talk to TSU students about job-readiness skills and employment opportunities with the tech giant and its affiliates.

Meredith Stowell, vice president for IBM Z Ecosystem; and Shirley Meierarend, IBM’s Z series skills leader for North America, spoke to a group of students, faculty and deans about “very lucrative” job opportunities available for those with skills and knowledge in Enterprise Computing, which supports IBM’s mainframe technology.

“IBM is here today because we are very interested in building a talent pipeline for enterprise computing for both our clients or IBM,” Stowell said in a presentation on Enterprise Computing and Digital Transformation.

John Thompson, right, TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, talks to a cross-section of students, deans and chair during the IBM executives’ visit. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We do have a number of very large clients here locally, but the other great thing about TSU is that many of their students are interested in relocating to other areas. So, that’s why I am here today, to share more with the students, and to connect students to talent and to the talent pipeline.”

Enterprise-related classes are currently being offered at TSU through an initiative that was launched in 2014 through the Department of Computer Science. The initiative was designed to prepare TSU students to be able to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and permanent job opportunities with enterprise clients. According to TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, between 2015 and 2018, more than 20 students were placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $82,000, with some receiving signing bonuses of up to $10,000.

Citing a Wall Street Journal 2020 projection, Thompson said there will be more than 84,000 enterprise-related jobs available for students across all disciplines. TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation.

During the IBM presentation, TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank Stowell and Meierarend for their visit, and Thompson, for arranging and coordinating the visit.  She stressed the importance of the TSU partnership with the company.

“This partnership is making a great difference in the lives of our students,” Glover said. “Student placement is a very key part of what we are and a major performance indicator for our state stakeholders and our accrediting body. Training our students to be adequately ready is so important. That is why we are so appreciative of this great collaboration.”

In her presentation, Stowell spoke about specific areas of enterprise computing that students should focus on in “sharpening your job-skill readiness.”  She and Thompson emphasized the importance of taking classes in fundamental COBOL business language programming, as well as a basic introduction to programming, such as C++ and Java. 

“Once again, it is really about this openness between industry and academics, and academic environment opening up to understand what specific skills that the industry needs and then partnering with those industry partners to incorporate and infuse those skills within their curriculum. So that, when the student graduates, there is a job lined up for him already,” Stowell said.

Thompson added:  “What makes TSU students so attractive is that they understand the distributing networking environment, but also, when you put them on an enterprise platform, they are right at home, and that’s where we come in. So, I work with the companies to find what they need from the enterprise platform, then I come back and work with Dr. (Ali) Sekmen and the deans, and say, ‘Look, how can we put this in the curriculum for the students to learn that skill?’ Once we do that, then we go and bring these companies in to recruit the students.”

Tamarcus Summers, a senior computer science major from Memphis, and Donovan Varnell, also a senior political science major from Nashville, were among the diverse group of majors at the presentation.

“As a computer science major, I am glad to see the focus on key areas emphasized here today that my professors talk about in preparing us for the job market,” Summers said.

For Varnell, he said he is impressed with IBM’s integration of technology into all disciplines.

“This really opens my eyes to how it is important to understand that all these technologies and coding are a need-to-know no matter your discipline,” said Varnell.

Dr. Sekmen, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science, and a facilitator of the Enterprise Systems Program, said TSU is seeking funding to establish a comprehensive enterprise computing program in the department with a mainframe computer lab.

“We will be the first institution in Tennessee to have such a computer,” said Sekmen. “We are going to develop an undergraduate concentration in enterprise computing, as well as training opportunities for TSU faculty, students and all HBCU faculty.”

Other university officials who spoke at the gathering were Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems Program manager, as well as Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Dr. Coreen Jackson, dean of the Honors College; and Dr. Ray Richardson, Enterprise Program liaison, were present. Students from a cross section of disciplines and majors were also present representing computer science, engineering, criminal justice, business and social work.

For more information on TSU’s Department of Computer Science, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.