NCAT ERC-led Bioengineering Programs Produce First Graduates During 2012-13 Academic Year

Outcome/accomplishment:  The bioengineering educational programs at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT) led by the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (ERC-RMB) made history by graduating its first two MS students in Fall 2012. Additional MS students have completed their MS degree requirements and will be graduating along with the program’s first BS students in Spring and Summer 2013. These constitute the nation’s first set of seamless bioengineering degree offerings offered on a stand-alone basis at an HBCU. The University of North Carolina (UNC) General Administration approved these degree programs in June 2010. The first cohort of MS students entered the program in Fall2010. The BS program started up in Spring 2011. The programs stem directly from the education and outreach commitment of ERC-RMB.

Impact/benefits:  The bioengineering educations program at NCAT spear-headed by ERC-RMB faculty, is providing students with learning and research experiences in bioengineering that will instill in them a lifelong sense of learning, social responsibility, and commitment to improving the quality of life for all people. The BS and MS bioengineering programs are continuously attracting a truly interdisciplinary student body, with current students drawn from across the engineering and sciences, from all over the nation. These activities are serving as a human resource pipeline to industry, medical school and graduate research programs on a national level. The strong diversity of the programs is reflected in the demographic data:
  • Graduate Program: 70% female, 90% African-American, 90% US nationals
  • Undergraduate Program: 60% female, 80% African-American, 20% white, 100% US nationals
Explanation/ background:The lead institution of the ERC-RMB is NCAT, with core partners at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and the University of Cincinnati (UC). ERC-RMB has spearheaded the genesis of these degree programs. The ERC’s research partners and industrial partners are providing industrial and research internships to NCAT’s students. Global research and education experiences for these students are also being achieved through the ERC’s global research partner Hannover Medical School (MHH) in Germany and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in India.
The bioengineering programs are housed in NCAT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering and Bioengineering ERC bioengineering faculty members made history at NCAT by graduating the following MS students (first undergraduate cohort will also graduate in Spring and Summer 2013):
  • Jonquil Flowers (MS advisor: Dr.McCullough),Fall 2012 – enrolled in PhD Bioengineering program at Pitt
  • Kevin Hawkins (MS advisor: Dr. McCullough) Fall 2012 – evaluating PhD admission offer from Virginia Tech
  • Shakiri Jones (MS advisor: Dr. McCullough) Spring 2013
  • Daniel Owuor (MS advisor: Dr. Yun) Spring 2013, recruited by Baxter Healthcare
  • Lauren Douglas Byrd (MS advisor: Dr. Yun) Summer 2013, recruited by Baxter Healthcare
  • Ginaya Littlejohn (MS advisor: Dr. Yun) Summer 2013
  • Christopher Mahoney (MS advisor: Dr. Bhattarai) Spring 2013, evaluating PhD admission offers from Purdue, University of Arkansas, and University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
  • Angela Edwards (MS advisor: Dr. Bhattarai) Spring 2013
  • Nevija Watson (MS advisor: Dr. Zhu), Spring 2013, recruited by St. Jude Medical, Inc.
Additionally, NCAT’s bioengineering students in 2011 chartered the first-ever HBCU student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), a fact recognized in BMES President Dr. Gilda Barabino’s opening words of welcome at the 2012 BMES Annual Meeting on November 30, 2012.