The Strada Education Network initiated the Strada HBCU Initiative in 2022 to focus on the next generation of leaders. This is a highly selective program that provides an academic scholarship, leadership development, academic support and critical social engagement resulting in positive secondary learning opportunities that lead to a meaningful career pathway for Strada Scholar.
The first cohort of Scholars was selected at Miles College in the fall of 2023. Under the leadership of three advisors (Dr. Esther Suswam, Mr. Keith McKendall and Dr. Steven E. Hairston) each of the students will undertake and participate in mentoring, career coaching and other work-based learning experiences.
The three inaugural Strada Scholars and their program area of study are Dariya Jones (Chemistry), Kayla Hardrick (Biology) and Abigail Boudreaux (Biology). In addition to academic scholarship support and programming, each scholar has access to a stipend to assist them with career or graduates school preparation
The Miles College Strada Scholars are committed to initiating a community service project in the spring of 2024 to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Founding of Miles College.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program enabled me to participate in computational high-entropy materials research with Dr. Cheng-Chien Chen, where I learned a great deal about machine learning methods and high-entropy borides. He invited me to present our research at a poster expo at the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (SESAPS) conference in Oxford, MS. Taking part in the conference was a fantastic opportunity for me to attend talks about physics research across the country, support my mentor and colleagues from UAB, and present my own research.
Dr. Chen and his Ph.D. students gave highly informative talks about their specific research topics. I was also able to attend lectures given by several of my professors from my home college, Mississippi State University. There were so many various categories of physics lectures I could choose to attend, and I really appreciated that diversity. I was very fascinated in the astrophysics lecture session, where they discussed research on black holes and exoplanets.
At the poster expo I was able to discuss my research with students and professors. It was a wonderful way for me to become more comfortable talking about my research to people of diverse backgrounds. During my REU at UAB I presented at the poster expo, and this thoroughly prepared me for my presentation at the SESAPS convention. I want to thank UAB for their continuous support and Dr. Chen for all his challenging work in helping me succeed. I have learned so much from these experiences, and they will aid me in furthering my career in physics.
Thanks to Katherine Zobre for arranging the tour at Innovaton Depot and special thanks to TruSpin Chief Executive Office Robert Agnew and Chief Technology Officer Anthony Brayer and Jessica Lewis for the time they took out of their schedules to speak with the REUs.
UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.