In 1990, Dr. Robert Shepard and Dr. Robert Ford founded the Science and Engineering Alliance, Inc. (SEA). SEA linked the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to 4 HBCUs: Prairie View A&M University, Southern University ad A&M College, Jackson State University and Alabama A&M University. SEA’s focus on inclusion and access progressed through a variety of research, education and outreach initiatives.
2015 - 25 Years of Success
SEA accomplishments in broadening participation in federal research initiatives gave students real world experience. With a full-time staff size of four during its 25 years, SEA facilitated over 150 collaborative research meetings; with over 500 HBCU/MSI faculty; resulting in over $350M in new research and education funding.
2020 - SEA Model Inspires New R&D Vision: NSEA
Dr. Robert Shepard, Dr. Robert Ford and Dr. Deloris Wallace-Brown created the National Science & Engineering Alliance (NSEA). The NSEA mission is to identify and provide scientific, technological, and engineering research and development opportunities for underserved and underrepresented individuals attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
2021 - ATI & NSEA Envision HBCU/MSI R&D Plan
ATI & NSEA saw that in the South Carolina Innovation Plan, companies in the Computer Hardware and Software sector in our state reported suffering from a shortage of skilled software programmers and engineers with enough experience to add immediate value to the organization. Software service firms have observed a skills gap in recent college graduates. When hired, they lack experience with actual industry problems and have not developed the soft skills that facilitate daily work interactions. In addition, African Americans represent 13.4% of the national population and 27.3% of the state’s population, but hold only 8.4% of computer and mathematical occupations. A survey of students at University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Howard University, two historically black universities, found that the majority of responders were not “counseled about computer related careers” either before or during college. This spurred an idea for change.
2022 - Expanding SC Underrepresented Minorities Footprint in the Cyber Security and Computer Science Workforce
ATI & NSEA collaborated to envision and implement a Cyber Security & Mentorship opportunity for HBCUs called the SC Relentless Grant. The Grant has 3 scope areas: Mentorship, Internship and Hack-a-thon. The Mentorship includes 9 months of virtual mentorship with one-on-ones and monitoring by a program manager. The Internship is a 1 week, hands-on immersive internship in Charleston, SC designed to improve students technical and soft skills and familiarization with small S&T projects. The Hack-a-thon, or Hack-a-SCHack, is a 1 day competition between teams of 54 students from participating HBCUs and Trident Technical College, and includes speakers and workshops.
2023 - Enhancing the Support Structure for the Cyber Security and Computer Science Workforce in SC Underrepresented Minorities Institutes (2023 program)
We are excited to once again invite South Carolina’s Information Technology and Cybersecurity community to participate in the S.C. Cyber Security–Computer Science Mentorship and Internship Program. The program is sponsored by a grant from the S.C. Department of Commerce. The goal is to create a more diverse and robust talent pipeline benefitting both South Carolina job seekers and job creators.
This project built upon the success of the inaugural 2022 program. A student cohort was brought together to collaborate with industry professionals to gain firsthand insight, hands-on experience, and mentor-mentee relationships with the potential to yield benefits for a lifetime.