We were teenagers from various areas of the country, e.g., Chicago, North Carolina, Chicago, New Jersey, Ohio, and we met at Howard University — excited to study engineering. We studied together, had fun together, and eventually earned PhDs from Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, and Texas A&M. Our friend Jaret (Dr. Riddick, now a Director at the Army Research Lab) called us on Feb. 1, 2018 to reflect on what had been accomplished, and to discuss how we will be collectively serving our community going forward.
We were regular kids at an HBCU. We came to Washington, DC … to Howard University – The Mecca. We had big dreams then … and we have been blessed to see them come to fruition. We were in NSBE (Region 2 ,”2-Hype!), lived in the dorms, had a typical HBCU social life, and studied hard. Last week, we talked about how we didn’t do it alone, and how even as first-year students, we were inspired by the students who were sophomores, juniors, and seniors. We were inspired by the grad students who were there, even though the very thought of a PhD was a lofty goal back then. We were kids then, studying and hanging out on the yard. Here’s a subset of some of the things that we are doing now:
1. Dr. Jaret C. Riddick (Mechanical Engineering): Dr. Riddick on LinkedIn. Dr. Riddick is now Director, Vehicle Technology Directorate (VTD) at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Dr. Riddick, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha (3-B-88), is a mentor, and a marathon runner. Dr. Riddick’s research within VTD has been to develop and validate improved predictive tools for mechanical properties and behavior of stronger, lighter, more reliable platforms to fulfill the objectives of Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL). He returned to his PhD Alma mater, Virginia Tech in 2015 to give a featured seminar, “Extremely Lightweight, Adaptive, Durable, Damage Tolerant (XLADD) Structures for Vertical Lift.” Read this article that the Army Research Lab published featuring Dr. Riddick: Dr. Jaret Riddick shares his story.
2. Dr. John S. Davis, II (Electrical Engineering): Dr. Davis is a former entrepreneur, and is now at the RAND Corporation, as Senior Information Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School; Co-Director, Center for Scalable Computing and Analysis. Dr. Davis’ research focuses on the impact of technology on society and includes projects involving cybersecurity, Big Data and digital privacy. He has led research projects for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. One of his recent articles is, Stateless Attribution: Toward International Accountability in Cyberspace. Dr. Davis is driven by excellence, and celebrates excellence in others, at all levels. See more information on Dr. Davis’ profile page at RAND, and on his professional summary page.
3. Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull (Electrical Engineering): Dr. Tull is Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at UMBC, Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering and IT, and current Vice President of Initiatives for the Latin and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions. She is a proponent of global STEM equity and access. Dr. Tull and her husband (Dr. Damon Tull) write and speak on issues such as Dark Matters: Metaphorical Black Holes that Affect Ethnic Underrepresentation in Engineering. Her video as the 2015 US finalist for the Global Engineering Deans Council/Airbus Diversity Award (filmed in Italy) is on YouTube. Here is Dr. Tull’s profile page for the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies.
4. Dr. Makola M. Abdullah (Civil Engineering): Dr. Abdullah is the 14th president of Virginia State University. Dr. Abdullah has deliberately taken faculty positions, deanships, and leadership positions at HBCUs, for which he is a staunch and unwavering advocate. Dr. Abdullah and his wife (Dr. Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah) are parents of two college students, who also attend HBCUs. Dr. Abdullah’s biography page at VSU describes his leadership accomplishments. Dr. Abdullah’s TEDx talk on “STEM and the Arts” can be viewed on YouTube. Read more about Dr. Abdullah’s personal story in the Richmond Magazine, and learn more about how he is seeding growth at VSU. Dr. Abdullah still plays basketball.
5. Dr. Carl A. Moore (Mechanical Engineering): Dr. Carl Moore is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Florida A&M University- Florida State University College of Engineering. Dr. Moore and his wife (Dr. Melodee Moore, also a Howard grad), are parents of 5. Dr. Moore’s research is in robotics, and his page at FAMU is here. Currently, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Historically Black Colleges and Universities Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE) grant ($958,673), Dr. Moore (Co-Principal Investigator) is training underrepresented students in robot-based additive manufacturing research. This project is slated to stimulate FAMU students’ interests in manufacturing research by using advanced robotics technologies and cyber technologies, thus increasing PhD student enrollment and overall student retention. In addition to his academic, family, and faith-based activities, Moore is an avid 10K runner.
6. Dr. Kimberly L. Jones (Civil Engineering): Dr. Jones has built her career at Alma mater – Howard University. She is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Howard with profile pages here, and here. Dr. Jones is part of the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) at Duke University. She has been featured as a DC Maker and Howard Trailblazer. Watch her video on YouTube, by WHUT DC Channel 32. Dr. Jones received Howard’s NSF ADVANCE Woman in STEM Researcher of the Year Award in 2015, and was a 2018 Keynote Speaker for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)-GEM Doctoral Engineering Research Showcase.
7. Dr. Fred Ware (Electrical Engineering): Dr. Ware specializes in hardware platforms for video and digital imaging. He has worked for several companies including Raytheon and CISCO. Dr. Ware has patents in video frame synchronization, dynamic probing for bit rate information, and technologies related to stereoscopic imaging. See Dr. Ware’s LinkedIn profile. Don’t be surprised if you see him with Dr. Abdullah on the basketball court, getting a game in despite their schedules.
Celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth w/ fellow @HowardU #engineering alums. The #HU7. We started as students together freshman year; we all have PhDs now. We’re directors, professors, innovators, and a president. Proof that you can do it … together. #ThinkBigDiversity #BLACKandSTEM pic.twitter.com/KVPdS6KR6Z
— Renetta G. Tull (@Renetta_Tull) February 5, 2018