PVAMU hosts Department of Defense workshop for HBCUs and MSIs

PVAMU hosts Department of Defense workshop for HBCUs and MSIs

By Emilia Benton

PVAMU’s ‘The Hill’ served as the location for the Department of Defense Regional Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions Technical Assistance Workshop, held Wednesday, Nov. 7.

The purpose of the workshop was to increase awareness of Department of Defense opportunities, provide a platform for collaboration and to encourage increased participation in the Department of Defense’s initiatives to support national security functions. According to Department of Defense HBCU/MI program director Evelyn W. Kent, the Department of Defense is dedicated to increasing the number of opportunities available to MSIs and their students, and the workshop demonstrated its desire to invest resources into this goal. Representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force, and other Federal Agencies, along with representatives from academia and non-government organizations, were also in attendance to provide insights into opportunities, Department of Defense research priorities and tips on writing competitive proposals in response to Broad Agency Announcements and other funding opportunities.

The event also included a panel discussion titled “HBCU/MI Research and Engineering Success Stories within DoD,” which focused on approaches to engaging with Department of Defense program managers for research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) success. Panelists included professors from Dillard University, Norfolk State University, Spelman College and North Carolina A&T State University.

“These trainings and workshops will enable us to increase our research and educational capacities, a step that is essential to fulfilling our missions and our responsibilities to our students and to society,” said Ruth J. Simmons, president, PVAMU. “A sound future for our institutions depends on keeping our doors open and continuing to provide excellent learning opportunities for our students to ensure that we have what it takes to succeed in this increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Throughout the years, researchers at the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering have continued to build successful partnerships with Department of Defense labs, government agencies and various businesses to focus on research data analysis, Simmons said in a letter to attendees. These partnerships serve to allow the university to educate and train students to prepare them for a more data-centric economy. Simmons noted that she hoped attendees would leave empowered and inspired to strengthen STEM programs at their respective campuses.

“PVAMU is a place that makes ideas possible, a place that is part of a group of institutions that are lifting this country in ways that people can hardly imagine,” Simmons said. “Our task is not only to make available STEM research opportunities available to our students, but also to make sure the country understands our incredible mission. This workshop was all about creating many more opportunities for our students and to continue that trajectory.”