The Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP) was created nearly two decades ago as a way to bring together underrepresented students for presentations, discussions, and poster competitions related to engineering, math, science, and agriculture.
TLSAMP recently wrapped up its annual convention, held under the theme “Research Engagement and Creativity Through STEM.”
“It’s always great for our students to get together with other students from around the state
to present their research and share ideas,” said Travis Griffin, the Fred D. Brown Jr. Director of Engineering Diversity Programs. “We were very excited to host and were pleased with the participation of the students.”
Kiyanie Fedrick, a freshman in biomedical engineering, said the conference was a good way for students to see other research, have opportunities to find internships, and network with other students and universities.
She said seeing the work of other students made her realize that she can overcome obstacles and achieve her goals without being overwhelmed.
“I enjoyed the chance to see what talking to recruiters was like and being able to sell myself a little,” Fedrick said. “Although most of the networking was to give information about future programs, I was still forced to come out of my comfort zone and advocate for what I was interested in.”
It’s always great for our students to get together with other students from around the state to present their research and share ideas. We were very excited to host and were pleased with the participation of the students.”
For poster competition judging, categories were split into two groups, with engineering and math in one pod and science and agriculture in the other. UT had a pair of students earn recognition.
Helena Sanders, a sophomore in nuclear engineering, came in second for her poster. Associate Professor Eric Lukosi served as her mentor.
Jovan Hernandez, a junior in computer engineering, won third place for his poster. His mentor was from Georgia Tech, where he had a summer research experience.
“To me winning this award brings me a lot pride because it shows that people were actually interested in and care about the research I conducted,” Hernandez said. “This is motivating because it encourages me to continue working hard. I want to be able to do things that matter and that will have an impact on the world and it always feels great to be recognized for that.”
He added that winning the award reinforced his belief that every engineer has a responsibility for making the world a better place.
For many participants, the conference was an opportunity to see what is possible through engineering.
“UT hosting the conference allowed me a chance to see all the preparation and diligence that these faculty members undergo to see us succeed,” Fedrick said. “It made me understand that there are people here that want me to do well in my career and are willing to provide guidance if I take it.”
Having it at UT just made it that much sweeter.
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