Missouri S&T offers summer research for students from HBCUs

Emmanuel Edorodion works on a mount inside a plasma vacuum chamber at Missouri S&T. Edorodion, an undergrad from Jackson State University, is one of the student researchers attending the Summer Engineering Research Academy at Missouri S&T. Photo by Michael Pierce, Missouri S&T

Eight students from historically Black colleges and universities are participating in a summer program at Missouri University of Science and Technology that is designed to encourage engineering students from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate studies. 

This year, students in Missouri S&T’s Summer Engineering Research Academy (SERA) are from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, Tennessee State University in Nashville and Morgan State University in Baltimore.

During the two-month program, which is in its third year, the students get involved in a range of research projects, including hypersonic flight materials, arsenic mobility in groundwater, additive manufacturing in laser 3D printing, fiber optics in steel manufacturing and other applications and self-escape in mining.

“The students in the SERA program bring new perspectives to research projects in the College of Engineering and Computing at Missouri S&T,” says Dr. Kelley Wilkerson, assistant teaching professor of materials science and engineering and SERA director at S&T. “In turn, they are exposed to new research areas and degree programs throughout the summer in hopes that they will find their passion in engineering.”

Wilkerson says the SERA program provides students not only with research experiences, but also with networking, team building, and personal and professional development. 

While they attend SERA, the students live in a residence hall on campus and meet for weekly workshops that provide additional opportunities for learning.

According to the university in a press release Friday, “the SERA program also allows Missouri S&T to further build bonds with the participating HBCUs and collaborate with the schools to continue research when the students return to their home campuses.”

Eight students are participating in SERA this summer:

  • Gerald Amory of Frederick County, Maryland, a student at Morgan State University
  • Joshua Campbell of Ripley, Tennessee, a student at Tennessee State University (attended in 2019 and has returned for a second summer)
  • Emmanuel Edorodion of Jackson, Mississippi, a student at Jackson State University
  • Godwin Chierika Eke of Baltimore, a student at Morgan State University
  • Grayson Mejia of Atlanta, Georgia, a student at Oakwood University
  • David Pembamoto of Baltimore, a student at Morgan State University
  • Marcus Sarpong of Owings Mills, Maryland, a student at Morgan State University
  • Dorren Searcy of St. Louis, a student at Tennessee State University.

“The SERA program has been an exhilarating experience,” says Chierika Eke. “Missouri S&T is intellectually stimulating and gives you an incentive to pursue your goals. I love it.”