For more than four decades, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Tennessee Valley Authority have worked together on mutually-beneficial and innovative research, workforce development, and educational initiatives to benefit the citizens of our region. Three recent partnerships highlight the scope and scale of the linkages between the CECS and TVA.
First, CECS is the newest partner of in the CADNet School-to-Work Program which has already positively impacted more than 10,000 Tennessee Valley students. Through participation in the program, area high school students learn technical skills while providing low-cost, quality computer aided design services for TVA and other organizations.
Dr. Trevor Elliott, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, recently commented on this new CECS outreach partnership with TVA and area secondary schools, taking place in a laboratory space located in the College’s Advanced Vehicle Test Facility (AVTF). “The CADNet Program helps inspire interest in engineering careers and provides a pathway to college-level engineering programs for potential students. The partnership with TVA and area schools provides CECS with a closer working relationship that broadens the positive impact the CADNet School-to-Work Program has on students, schools, organizations, and workforce development in our community.”
At a recent open house celebrating the opening of the laboratory, representatives of all the program partners welcomed students and the extended community. Mentors from TVA and area schools work with the program participants, encouraging their academic success while also helping them develop business and personal qualities that they will need including time management, communication and interview skills. CECS’ support of this initiative is but one component of the College’s commitment to serving the extended community.
Second, TVA demonstrated its continued support of the College’s academic programs designed to prepare the current and next generations of engineers, technologists, and computer scientists. A recent $50,000 gift by TVA to the Electrical Engineering Department is part of the Authority’s pledge to sponsor graduate fellowships. CECS Advisory Board Steering Committee Member and TVA Vice President Steve Douglas recently joined Dean Daniel Pack and Electrical Department Head Dr. Ahmed Eltom for a check presentation. On that occasion, Mr. Douglas remarked, “TVA has long benefited from having well-trained and knowledgeable interns, and full-time employees who completed their course of study in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. We look forward to continuing to work with the professors and students to explore innovative ideas and develop best practices for our industry.”
In October, TVA selected two of the student organizations in the College as recipients of funds to support their community engagement programs, outreach initiatives, and participation in professional development opportunities. The CECS student chapters of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) each received $2,000 from TVA as part of its commitment to support student organizations with memberships which are under-represented in engineering and related professions. Ms. Megan Murden, Program Manager with TVA’s Talent Acquisition Programs, made the presentation to representatives of the student groups and their faculty sponsors on November 2.