Spelman College joins IBM-HBCU Quantum Center.
According to a 2021 Pew Research Center report,1 Black workers only make up 9% of all STEM jobs in the US — a number that has remained flat since 2016. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) educate 18%2 of Black graduates with STEM degrees, and they account for nearly 30%3 of the science and engineering PhDs awarded to Black graduates.
These numbers highlight how HBCUs successfully support students pursuing STEM careers — as well as the need for broader engagement with STEM-led industries. IBM launched the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center in 2020 to create education, research, and career opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students in the still-nascent (but rapidly growing) field of quantum information science.
Atlanta-based Spelman College is hiring a Scholar in Residence in quantum information science, as a part of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. You can apply, here.Spelman College, one of only two HBCUs dedicated to educating women of African descent, joined the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center this month. With Spelman’s membership, the center now includes 24 HBCUs across the U.S., and six schools in the Another member of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center’s Southeast region, Albany State University, just announced a $2 million collaboration with IBM Global University Programs on developing student and faculty skills in diverse and high demand industries, including quantum computing. Read more, here.Southeast region, which focuses on quantum hardware, education, and fundamental research.
According to the National Science Foundation, between 2015 and 2019, Spelman graduated the highest number of Black science and engineering students who went on to earn PhDs, at 113,4 compared to all other baccalaureate institutions in the US.
“Our new partnership with the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will allow Spelman to strengthen the college’s engagement with quantum computing, a rapidly developing field that unites our physics and computer science departments,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, PhD, president of Spelman.”
“Through hands-on learning experiences offered through the center, our students and faculty will be able to expand their skills and contribute to shaping the direction of this exciting new field.”
IBM Research’s latest “What’s Next” Seminar episode featured IBM Quantum Academic Alliance Lead and co-founder of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center Dr. Kayla Lee, and Howard’s Dr. Amoo. The two discussed how the quickly developing quantum industry can offer equal opportunities to those joining its growing workforce, recognizing the need to be inclusive of those from historically marginalized minority groups.
“HBCUs have the expertise, but there’s a resource gap. For example, [A professor] may be strong in mechanical engineering, but not have the resources to conduct [quantum] experiments,” said Howard University professor and Director of the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center Dr. Michaela Amoo.
“By putting different fields together, the center forms strong collaborations between institutions, for our researchers to find solutions at the intersection of their expertise and quantum computing.”
Since its foundation, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center has had more than 500 faculty, researchers, and students participate in education and research programs. The center has had a joint-research paper published in IEEE5 that investigates the use of machine learning and quantum computing to better understand unknown quantum systems, and launched an annual IBM-SPIE HBCU Faculty Accelerator Award in Quantum Optics and Photonics in 2021. The first recipient was Dr. Renu Tripathi, a professor of physics and engineering at Delaware State University.
- Pew Research Center, April, 2021, “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity.”↩
- NSF, August, 2020, “NSF Establishes New Center to Study Successful Undergraduate STEM Education Practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”↩
- National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates, April, 2013, “Baccalaureate Origins of U.S.-trained S&E Doctorate Recipients.”↩
- National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, special tabulations (2020) of the 2019 Survey of Earned Doctorates. Top baccalaureate institutions of Black or African American S&E doctorate recipients, by science and engineering and type of institution: 2015–19.↩
- S. Lohani, T. A. Searles, B. T. Kirby and R. T. Glasser. On the Experimental Feasibility of Quantum State Reconstruction via Machine Learning,. IEEE Transactions on Quantum Engineering vol. 2, pp. 1-10, 2021, Art no. 2103410.↩