WILBERFORCE — Central State was recently awarded $516,000 for training from the US Air Force through Clarkson Aerospace of Houston, Texas from 2014-2017, under the Research Collaboration Program of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
The award enables collaborative research partnerships between AFRL, academia and industry, in areas including, but not limited to materials and manufacturing and aerospace sensors that engage a diverse pool of domestic businesses that employ scientists and engineers in technical areas required to develop critical war-fighting technologies for the nation’s air, space and cyberspace forces through specific AFRL core technical competencies.
Central State University has been working with Clarkson Aerospace and Universal Technologies Corporation for many years on AFRL initiatives under their Minority Leaders Program (MLP).
According to the College of Science and Engineering Dean Dr. Subramania Sritharan, Central State has been very successful in training students through this program and placing them at AFRL locations for defense research work in three critical areas: (1) material testing/characterization, microelectronics/MEMS packaging and additive manufacturing;(2) advanced battery manufacturing technologies; and (3) hyper spectral imaging technologies for advanced sensors; a continuation offer of the MLP.
“The funding allows students to engage in research on campus, with the companies engaged in research and production for AFRL and in the different research laboratories within AFRL,” Sritharan said. “Students are selected from the Departments of Environmental Engineering, Water Resources Management (hyper spectral imaging, Manufacturing Engineering (advanced battery manufacturing) and Mathematics & Computer Science (hyper spectral imaging).
“Faculty experts from these departments will engage in leading the research in collaboration with scientists from other institutions and AFRL with this award. Students are expected to carry out research on campus during the academic terms and at the different directorates of the AFRL. The students are paid for the research work during the academic term and during summer. Students learn the use of advanced scientific instrumentation, computer modelling and research techniques.”
As an Ohio Center of Excellence for Emerging Technologies, the advancement of this Center depends on the ability of the Center to be critical partner for advancing technologies and training the necessary work force in cutting-edge research. The first allocation of $75,000 is being used in the areas of material research and for studies to improve the Lithium ion battery manufacturing technologies. The remainder of the allocation, approximately $250,000, will be received based on the progress made.
“In addition, the College of Science and Engineering was awarded $3.9 million by the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish the Center of Excellence in STEM and STEM Education (STEM-X-ED), Sritharan said. “The objective of the Center is to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers needed in the defense industry. This objective is achieved through improving STEM learning, enhancing research skills and through internship training in the defense industry. The grant from the Research Collaboration Program of AFRL enables Central State to fulfill the requirement of training the students through internships.
“Central State is unique amongst the minority institutions in having research capabilities in core technical competencies expected by AFRL. The participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM areas and particularly in defense industry is very low. The effort AFRL and DoD provide to support the university help improve this situation.”