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Partnership aims to increase diversity in materials science

The Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) are embarking on a research collaboration designed to increase diversity in the field of materials science. N.C. A&T is a Historically Black University (HBU) that produces more African American engineers than any other university in the United States.

Starting in October, N.C. A&T students will visit Cornell to take advantage of CCMR’s state-of-the-art instrumentation and to work with Cornell faculty who are world leaders in electron microscopy, optics and electrocatalysis.

This project is funded by a three-year, $800,000 seed grant from the National Science Foundation through the Partnerships for Research in Education and Materials program (PREM), and is intended to support discoveries in materials research while solidifying a pathway for students from underrepresented groups to enter the field of materials science and engineering. It is aimed at developing low-dimensional titanium oxynitride-based materials capable of supporting energy conversion reactions.

CCMR director Frank Wise, M.S. ’86, Ph.D. ’88, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor in the College of Engineering, said he is optimistic that the scientific relationships fostered by the project will advance a culture of inclusivity at Cornell, and he hopes the experience will attract some N.C. A&T students to Cornell for graduate or postdoctoral studies.

“N.C. A&T has an incredible wealth of strong students from underrepresented groups,” Wise said. “I believe that students will experience the excitement of working in a big interdisciplinary research group of the kind that CCMR supports, and this experience will prepare them to continue on that path. Our goal is to build a strong relationship with N.C. A&T for everyone’s benefit.”

More information on Cornell University’s commitment to diversity and its involvement with the PREM program is detailed in this Cornell Chronicle article by J. Edward Anthony.

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