Prairie View A&M University is set to receive an engineering scholarship after receiving over $200,000 from an engineering firm! Learn about the donor and how PVAMU is planning to use the funds in the new release below.

Credit: 123RF

Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) is the grateful recipient of $240,000 from Fluor Corporation, an engineering and construction firm headquartered in Irving, Texas. One of three Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) slated to receive funds in Fluor’s newly initiated $1 million Engineering Scholar Program for HBCUs, PVAMU will use the money to establish the HBCU Engineering Scholar Program and Global University Sponsorship Program (GUSP) in its Roy G. Perry College of Engineering.

“Dean Pamela Obiomon and I have worked in our respective areas to promote an environment conducive to advancement, growth, creativity, outreach and discovery,” Quincy Moore, the director of PVAMU’s Honors Program, who is leading the new program with Obiomon, said at the announcement of the donation. “Given this opportunity, we strive to engage civil, chemical and mechanical engineering students with real discovery and create a learning environment that enhances learning and gives the students real-world experience for training the next generation of engineers.”

Moore noted that while the College of Engineering has partnerships with various companies, which propose to fund different activities, this particular partnership is different. “One unique feature of this one is that the Honors Program is teaming up with engineering, as some of our Honors students coming through the engineering program don’t otherwise have scholarship opportunities,” Moore said. “In a way, Fluor is helping provide the infrastructure so students are qualified for the industry once they leave PVAMU, and potentially providing a pipeline into their company. But beyond that, they are reaching out to underrepresented minorities with their HBCU program. With this, students not only get opportunities to do research, but they also have more direct engagement with engineers from the industry.”

Fluor Corp. headquarters in Irving. (Credit: Fluor Corp)

Fluor, a national leader in corporate giving, established the Fluor Foundation, its charitable arm, in 1952. Torrence Robinson, president of the Fluor Foundation, said that selection criterion for the Engineering Scholar Program for HBCUs included proximity to Fluor’s offices, faculty research expertise, students’ overall academic success profile and the results of College of Engineering administration interviews. “We also considered which universities conferred the most degrees to Black graduates in civil, chemical and mechanical engineering. What stood out to us was the enthusiasm expressed by Prairie View A&M about the potential of the partnership. We are excited about what we can do together to better equip students for successful engineering careers.”

While noting PVAMU’s success in conferring engineering degrees, Robinson called workforce diversity an “ongoing challenge” within many academic disciplines. “According to the Hechinger Report, from 2001 to 2016 in the United States, the percentage of engineering degrees awarded to Black graduates declined from 5 to 4 percent,” Robinson said. “Black workers make up 5.6 percent of the science and engineering workforce, and Fluor is committed to taking additional steps to help narrow that gap.”

As part of the new program, six $5,000 merit-based scholarships will be awarded each year to civil, chemical and mechanical engineering majors at PVAMU who have demonstrated outstanding performance in the classroom, as well as leadership and campus involvement. Scholarship recipients will be required to participate in a lecture series, research modules, tech talks, technical writing workshops, mock interviews and career fairs. They will also benefit from professional development workshops with Fluor engineers, including an innovative design pitch competition. Students selected are thus provided a framework for promoting innovation and creativity, helping to prepare them for a global market. Under the terms of Fluor’s partnership, PVAMU may earn additional monies, matched dollar-for-dollar by the company in coordination with external donors.

“A lot of engineering students would like to have more experiential learning that can help land them their dream job after college,” said Moore. “So having those opportunities for them while they’re on campus is going to be a positive for these students and for students coming down the pipeline. It will make an impact on the whole campus experience.”