ECSU Receives $825,000 Research Grant to Provide STEM Career-Readiness Skills – Elizabeth City State University | #education | #technology | #training


Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is helping students prepare for future careers in materials science and photonic engineering thanks to a five-year grant totaling $825,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as part of the agency’s distribution of $38.8 million to 24 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) consortia nationwide. According to ECSU’s Office of Sponsored Programs, the university will use the grant to perform research and education in the STEM disciplines, as well as fund internships for students to work with a laboratory research partner in California.

The NNSA awarded funds to each partner in the NoVEL Consortium for Research and Education in Materials Science and Photonics Engineering, which is comprised of three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and a federal research facility in California.  Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, ECSU and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory make up the NoVEL Consortium.  The Consortium is focused on building the partnering institutions’ capacity to perform research and educate students in materials science and photonic engineering – areas relevant to the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

The field of materials science studies the structure and chemical properties of various natural, synthetic or composite materials including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass.  Photonic engineering works with light energy.  Photonics engineers typically use light information and energy to create advances in different fields such as healthcare, construction, and communication.  This includes advances in lasers, optics, fiber optics, and imaging.

“Students involved in the university’s STEM disciplines will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, training modules, internships and more,” says Dr. Bijandra Kumar, ECSU Assistant Professor of Technology.  “The NoVEL Consortium will provide course-based undergraduate research experiences, as well as technical and soft skills training to prepare students succeed in STEM careers.”

Several benefits of the new consortium include:

  • NoVEL will bring together faculty researchers from the three neighboring HBCUs to open avenues for new collaborative research projects, leading to enhanced research and professional mentoring of STEM students.
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will hold recruiting events at each campus, introducing students to the research conducted at its facility.
Partners in the NoVEL Consortium

Norfolk State University offers the Master of Science program in Materials Science and the Doctor of Philosophy program in Materials Science and Engineering, both focused on photonic and electronic materials.

Virginia State University offers a Bachelor of Science program in Manufacturing Engineering and a Bachelor of Science program in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology.  Visit VSU’s Official Academic Degree and Certificate Programs for more information.

Elizabeth City State University offers a Bachelor of Science program in Engineering Technology with three concentrations and a Bachelor of Science program in Chemistry.  Visit ECSU’s Programs of Study webpage.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility operates the world’s most powerful laser, which requires knowledge in the fields of Materials Science and Photonics Engineering.



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