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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diverse Issues in Higher Education: Tech Venture Initiative Launched on HBCU Campuses


March 7, 2013

by Cherise Lesesne

Recognizing a large gap in technological training at many historically Black colleges and universities, representatives of the HBCU community launched an effort to stream a tech-based entrepreneurship initiative at Black institutions.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), in partnership with the White House Initiative on HBCUs, led the effort organizing the “HBCU Startup and Innovation Initiative.”

Created mainly to expose Black students to the leading practices within STEM education, this project will be used to enable tech-based commercialization on Black campuses.

In response to President Obama’s call to increase minorities in STEM fields amid the lacking amount of tech-transfer programs at HBCUs, the initiative will train both students and faculty on how to build a successful tech venture. Dr. Chad Womack, project lead and UNCF director of STEM education initiatives, raised his hands to “grandfather” the proposed goal.

“In part of a longer conversation that I’d been having with my Morehouse [College] colleagues, we’ve been talking for years about the lack of competitiveness and innovation among our HBCU institutions,” Womack says.

Womack, a 1988 graduate of Morehouse College, was invited to attend a White House Technology Inclusion summit in August. Womack joined education leaders, investors and technological entrepreneurs to promote solutions around diversity inclusion, STEM education and entrepreneurship. The initiative will be separated into three primary goals: exposing, educating and empowering HBCU students and faculty.

Thus far, members of this project are focused on exposing the HBCU community to tech-based entrepreneurship by reviewing models, such as capitalist ventures like Facebook and Google. After exposure, project members created “boot camps” in order to train students to build profitable business ventures, which will transfer into capital or “empowerment,” according to Womack.

While no HBCUs have committed to a formal partnership as of yet, schools like Norfolk State University and Morehouse College have shown interest. However, Womack explains that the project would best be executed if it starts on a small number of HBCU campuses and after further development, transfers to remaining schools.

“To be quite frank, I don’t think every HBCU would be interested. We do have an idea of maybe 10 to 12 schools, but it’ll be like the ‘coalition of the willing’ and then we can expand from there,” Womack says.

Even more challenging than gathering the participation of all 105 HBCUs is raising capital for the effort, says Womack. With support from several HBCU advocacy organizations like UNCF and the White House Initiative, the project will lead an HBCU Innovation fund comprised of donations by supporting investors. However, the fund will initially capitalize from 1 percent, or $10 million, of HBCU endowments that are leveraged as institutional investment capital funds.

According to Womack, the return on investment will accrue shortly after building up necessary resources. He says, echoing other HBCU leaders, that the geographical competitive advantage of HBCUs is a component that is sure to bring successful results to tech-based innovation.

“Interestingly, most HBCUs exist geographically within vibrant regional ecosystems and economies, but they are not connected. So there is no deal flow, where capital meets entrepreneurship to create more opportunity,” Womack says.

However, deal flow is certainly not the problem at schools like Stanford University, where the close proximity to Silicon Valley has grown the school’s technological resources tremendously. At Stanford, there is a Technology Venture Program, which develops research around successful tech projects for its students and faculty. The program, among other entrepreneurship initiatives, has produced a base of Stanford students and alumni who’ve started more than 39,000 companies and have collectively made $2.7 trillion in revenue.

Kenneth Tolson, project adviser of the HBCU Startup Initiative and board member of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, says the success of Stanford alumni and faculty has become one of the motivating factors for HBCUs to build successful entrepreneurs within their own communities. Universities like Stanford have received grants, contracts and other science-specific government funding through the commercialization in tech research. Tolson says that many schools often have sold tech research to government agencies in order to commercialize STEM efforts.

“When you look at schools like Stanford, UPenn, MIT, Michigan, these big majority schools have been doing very well commercializing their science and technology,” Tolson says.

Tolson continues, “Unfortunately, our HBCU community just never really took a foothold in that innovation economy. We only have about five schools who have started a bit of tech research.”

Schools including Florida A&M, Hampton University, Morehouse School of Medicine, North Carolina A&T and Tuskegee University have already built a Technology Transfer Program (TTP). The TTP effort, which dates back to 1996, is deeply involved with building a flow between HBCUs and corporations by conducting research and development in technology.

“Even with these programs, we really have a broken process from professors that are teaching science and technology, because we need not only to teach, but also to have the infrastructure to develop these technologies and STEM ventures,” Tolson says.

According to both Tolson and Womack, the HBCU initiative will build the infrastructure, by creating more financial resources and better training for HBCU campuses.

“The next Facebook, the next Google is on our campuses; it’s at Spelman; it’s at Morehouse; it’s at Howard, and our job is to empower those students and faculty members to realize their ventures in STEM disciplines and fields,” says Womack.


Dillard University 2013 Competition Undergraduate Research

Faculty and Students

2013 Undergraduate Research

and Creative Work

(Poster) Competition

Thursday, April 4, 2013     *     PSB Lobby

Entry Deadline:     April 1, 2013

(Entry Form and Guidelines are attached.)


Students engaged in research and creative work in all disciplines are invited to exhibit and compete in this Competition.  Student work will be judged by faculty experts beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Announcements of awards for outstanding student work will be presented at 2:30 p.m.  Competition guidelines are attached.  Students may register for the Competition using the attached form or go to the Dillard Undergraduate Research website and register for that event.


The Competition is part of the Dillard Undergraduate Research Week which highlights “Learning through research and creative work”.


Undergraduate Research Week

April 1-5, 2013

Undergraduate Research Week Activities

· * Dillard University-Louisiana AMP Conference - Tuesday, April 3; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., PSB 135

· * Algebra Relay - Wednesday, April 4; 1;00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.,  PSB 131

· * Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Competition - Thursday, April 5; 9:00 a.m., PSB 131 & 135, & Atrium


Lynn Strong

Director, Undergraduate Research

Human Subjects Research Protection/IRB

Dillard University

Ensuring students more than a degree.

PSB 250

2601 Gentilly Blvd.

New Orleans, LA  70122

T:  504-816-4446




2013 Undergraduate Research
and Creative Work

Thursday, April 4, 2013
PSB Lobby



Dillard students in all disciplines, who involve in research and creative projects under faculty supervision, are eligible to participate in the
2013 Research and Creative Work Competition. Students must be directly and substantively involved in the various aspects of the research or creative activity, especially in the conception and execution of the project. At least one faculty mentor must be directly involved in supervision of the project. Students are expected to display and explain the results of their work and compete for prizes in three categories: Qualitative, Quantitative, or Creative Work. Categories may be modified if there are less than five entries in any category.
How to Enter

Students may enter this year’s competition by submitting an entry form and a 100-word abstract describing their project to using "Poster 2013" in the subject line. The entry deadline is Monday, April 1, 2013. Entries received after this date will not be included in the printed program. A schedule of activities and set-up information will be emailed to all entrants.
Posters Sessions: What are they?

Participants in all categories are expected to mount the presentation of their work on a poster.
Presenters will use standard size poster boards or printed posters to describe their work using a combination of graphics and text. Student presenters are expected to be available between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 4th to interact on a one-on-one basis with judges evaluating their project and with attendees viewing the posters. Remember: A well planned poster communicates its message in a visually and textually powerful way, allowing the viewer to grasp the information quickly.

Entry forms must include an abstract of 100-words, typed in Times New Roman, 12 pt., fully edited and camera-ready.
All or a portion of the abstracts submitted with the entry forms will be published in the 2013 Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Program booklet. Decisions concerning
2013 U
Page 2
submittal of the final version of abstracts will reside with the faculty mentor.
Failure to submit a complete entry form by Monday, April 1, 2013 will result in "Abstract not available" appearing in the program next to the contestant’s name(s). Entry category may be modified based on submission of abstracts. All entries must be displayed and explained in posters describing the results of the work.
Set Up

Exhibitors are responsible for delivering and setting up their work to the designated area of the PSB at the specified time on the day of the competition
(7:00 a.m., Thursday, April 4th), and for removing their work at the specified time on the day of the event. The University will not be responsible for work delivered early or left behind, and assumes no responsibility for lost, misdirected, or stolen entries.
Special Equipment Needs

Electrical outlets will be available on the day of the competition. Participants are expected to provide any special equipment needed to present their projects (laptops, projectors, extension cords).


Each entry will be evaluated by a panel of judges who are distinguished members of the Dillard University community and local area institutions and organizations. The number of judges may vary depending upon the quantity of submissions received.
Judges will utilize standard scholarly criteria including project development and purpose of the research or creative work, analysis of the dataset, supporting arguments for the position provided by the student researchers, and links to the conclusions. The abstract will also be included in their review. The decisions of the judges are final.

Awards & Prizes

• First, second and third place awards will be presented to the first, a second and a third place

winners in each of three categories: Qualitative, Quantitative and Creative Work
• Categories may be modified if there are less then five entries in any category.
• Winning projects submitted by two or more undergraduate researchers will receive a single
monetary award.
Winners will be announced at the Award Reception on the afternoon of the competition and disseminated widely throughout the University community.

Undergraduate Research Office * Dillard University * PSB 250 * New Orleans, LA 70122
Tel: 504-816-4446 *

2013 Undergraduate Research
and Creative Work

Thursday, April 4, 2013
PSB Lobby


Each student entry will be assigned an alpha numeric number and a corresponding panel number which can be placed on the upper right-hand corner of the poster.

Poster Specifications

Posters are to be limited to 4’ high by 5’ wide.
• Posters should be easily read from a distance of 3 to 5 feet,
• Headings should include: Title, abstract title, names of all students involved in the project, faculty mentor(s), and departmental/division, and other affiliations(s) if necessary.
• Posters must be organized with appropriate headings to produce a logical flow of information. Students in the arts are expected to discuss their project in written statements, using appropriate photos, renderings, models, art work that explain conception or themes, and medium used as well as the process(es) employed in the respective creative activity project. Electronic showing of creative work will have a five-minute time limit,

Visual materials such as tables, charts, graphs, photographs, etc. are encouraged,
• Participants are also encouraged to bring handouts of their poster presentations and to provide information on who to contact for additional information.

Tips for Organizing Your Poster

Place the title at the top center of the poster,
• Avoid hand-drawn materials,
• Keep the poster simple,
• Avoid using jargon, acronyms, or unusual abbreviations,
• Make sure the poster has a logical flow,
• Space your information proportionally,
• Use color, graphics, charts, and photos,
• Two to three related background colors will unify the poster,
• Use a light background with darker photos; a dark background with lighter photos,
• Key points should be in large type,
• Do not try to tell the entire story on the poster. Save some key points for the
one-on-one discussions with the judges. Please plan to stand by your poster for the entire
length of the judging session.

2013 U
Page 2
Creative Work Projects

Every effort is being made in this event to recognize the myriad of art forms through which the arts are communicated. Participants are expected to present the work which best illustrates the creative path/personal research they are following.
Projects classified as "creative" may emphasize in-depth performing and fine artistic research, creativity, and personal inquiry in such areas as music, painting, drawing, printmaking, graphics,
photography, sculpture, ceramics, dance, or performance. Projects combining one or more artistic medium or interdisciplinary projects between fine arts and another discipline are also included in this genre.

Note: Fine and performing arts entrants are asked to contact the Director of Undergraduate Research by March 20, 2013 to ensure artist’s needs and requirements are met.
Presentation Specifications for Creative Work

Posters for creative projects must contain the following:
• a description of the student’s personal research in areas of technique and concept,
• how the presenter contributed to the creation of his/her work,
• a brief discussion of work entered in terms of how it evolved within the student’s particular line of inquiry, and
• how the work shows the artistic process or communicates concepts.

Pointers for All Faculty and Students

1. Research and creative work, for the purposes of this competition, mean any form of scholarship appropriate to the participant’s discipline. "Undergraduate Research and Creative Work" is scholarship that is not truly independent, but embodies a partnership between the student and the faculty member who serves in the role of mentor/advisor to the student.

3. As scholarship involves expenditure of time and resources, the faculty mentor is central to the enterprise. As a mentor of an undergraduate student engaged in research and creative activity, the faculty member provides a sounding board for the development of the problem, advice on design and methodology to address the problem, encouragement, and suggestions about interpretation. All of this counsel is provided in such a way as to encourage the student to make decisions. If the project is not student-driven, it is less likely to be completed. The primary goal is for students to experience success.
4. The role of the faculty mentor during the competition will be to offer guidance, suggestions when appropriate, and encouragement at all times.
5. Research and creativity involving partnerships with individuals, businesses, institutions or organizations in the greater New Orleans and beyond are highly desirable. These entities should be acknowledged in presenting the research deliverable or creative work.
6. As mentioned above, as part of the judging process at the competition students must be able to articulate their role and to defend the concept and pursuit of the project.
7. Students should be attentive to the presentation of the work. Good work presented
well will be important.

Questions? Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at
or 504-816-4446.

Undergraduate Research Office * Dillard University * PSB 250 * New Orleans, LA 70122
Tel: 504-816-4446 *
2013 Undergraduate Research
and Creative Work
Thursday, April 4, 2013
PSB Lobby
Entry Deadline:  Monday, April 1, 2013
Learning Through Research and Creative Work
Entry Form
Tell us about yourself and your research.  The information provided will be included in the event program.  Please type or print all information.  Incomplete entry forms will be returned.  Deadline for entry: Monday, April 1, 2013.  Entries received after this deadline will not be included in the printed program.  Please direct inquiries to Undergraduate Research, at or (504) 816-4446.

1    Student Presenter Name                                                                                        SID#  

Major                                                E-Mail                                                      Phone
Class Level:          Freshperson             Sophomore            Junior                  Senior

2    Student Presenter Name                                                                                              ID#

Major                                             E-Mail                                                        Phone
Class Level:          Freshperson             Sophomore                 Junior                  Senior
 (Please list the names of other student researchers participating on this project on page 3.)

3    Faculty Mentor’s Name



4   Title of Entry:
5   Type of Presentation (√ one):  Projects are to be presented in poster format.  If project is Creative
      Work, please select type:   
  Print            Electronic          Music           Other (explain)  _________
Dillard University
2012 Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Competition
Entry Form  -- page 2 of 4
6   Category, Division, Focus (one of each):   
____Category of Research____                                                                    Academic Focus_____________          
   Creative Work                                                                                             Business                           Natural Science &
   Qualitative                                                                                                     Educational &                  Nursing
                                                                                                                                       & Psychological Studies
   Quantitative                                                                                                  Humanities                        Public Health
                                                                                                                                   Social Science                          
7    Has the research been approved by the IRB? (Please see page 4.)
               Yes             No       
8    Abstract:  Please provide an abstract of your work in a maximum of 100 words.  Each abstract should explain the work that was performed and discuss the importance of the work (i.e., what larger problem were you trying to solve or understand?).  The abstract must be typed in 12 pt. Times New Roman, fully edited, and camera-ready.  Use the space below, or attach your abstract to this page.  If using a separate page, please include the name(s) of the student(s) and title of the project.  Failure to provide an abstract by Monday, April 1st will result in “Abstracts not Available” in the printed program.
Dillard University
2012 Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Competition
Entry Form  -- page 3 of 4
9   If applicable, list additional students who participated as researchers on this project here.  Use additional pages if needed.


Student Presenter Name                                                                                 ID#

Major                                             E-Mail                                                        Phone
Class Level:          Freshperson             Sophomore            Junior            Senior

Student Presenter Name                                                                                 ID#

Major                                             E-Mail                                                        Phone
Class Level:          Freshperson             Sophomore            Junior            Senior

Student Presenter Name                                                                                 ID#

Major                                             E-Mail                                                        Phone 
Class Level:          Freshperson             Sophomore            Junior            Senior
10     Signatures of Contacts


   Student Researcher Representative Signature                                        E-Mail                                   Cell/Telephone


   Faculty Research Mentor Signature                                                          E-Mail                                   Cell/Telephone
(Faculty Research Mentor’s signature indicates that he/she has mentored the student participant(s) in this research project and has reviewed the Entry Form in accordance with competition guidelines.)
Dillard University
2012 Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Competition
Entry Form  -- page 4 of 4

11  Uudergraduate Research and IRB Approval


Dillard University policy requires that any human subjects research conducted by its students, staff or faculty must receive IRB approval before any data is collected.  There are procedures in place for submitting requests, reviewing cases and ensuring ethical conduct in research projects.
For any undergraduate student research, IRB approval is generally required if:
1) human subjects are involved, and
2) the study contributes to generalizable knowledge, which means that the results are presented in a public forum outside of the classroom.
Internal presentations (for class only) that are used to demonstrate the student’s knowledge of research process theory does not require IRB review.
Student research must be submitted to and reviewed by the IRB before any data is collected.
Click here for IRB Forms to submit your research for review .  Additional information on the Dillard IRB may be accessed at
NOTE: For research involving prisoners, children or other vulnerable populations, please check with the Human Research Protection Office (HRPO) at 816-4446 or prior to beginning the research process.
Return completed Entry Form by Monday, April 1, 2013
to Undergraduate Research, PSB 250.
IMPORTANT!  Confirmation and additional information will be e-mailed to the faculty mentors and student presenter named in item #1.  Please direct any questions to: Lynn Strong, Director, Undergraduate research at or telephone: (504) 816-4446. 


Follow Undergraduate Research on Twitter @DUUndergradRes