Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., joined Florida State University President Richard D. McCullough, Ph.D., Thursday to announce a $750,000, five-year agreement with Danfoss Turbocor to fund scholarships and provide research opportunities for faculty and students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering (COE).
“The relationship between the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and Danfoss Turbocor illustrates the ingenuity of our faculty and staff, and their commitment to provide meaningful impacts on our students and society through research and development,” Robinson said. “This agreement is a very positive step forward in support of our goal to recruit and retain the best and brightest students from underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines.”
The agreement, which was officially signed on November 12, established the Danfoss FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Fund.
The fund will award about 10 grants per year to undergraduate and graduate students from either university at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Undergraduate fellowships will focus on first- or second-year engineering students, focus on first-generation college students or those who belong to an underrepresented group. The fund will also support graduate research fellows and faculty fellows each year who are engaged in research that is of interest to Danfoss.
“This agreement is an exciting new chapter in Danfoss’ relationship with the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering,” said Danfoss Turbocor President Ricardo Schneider. “We have been developing a strong partnership for nearly 10 years, sponsoring undergraduate and graduate research projects, and are excited to expand our support for the development of engineering talent in the community. These scholarships will help underrepresented minority students achieve their dreams of an engineering career, bring more diversity to the profession, and create a talent pipeline for our Danfoss Turbocor business.”
At the event Thursday, Schneider said 22 percent of his company’s engineers are graduates of the FAMU-FSU COE. Among them is Precious Ross, a FAMU graduate from Jacksonville who has worked with the company for two and a half years. Ross said she drove by the building in Innovation Park while she was an industrial engineering student but didn’t explore the company until after she graduated.
“I applied because they had an internship program,” Ross said. “I went to the interview, got the job and started working there three months after graduation. It’s been great ever since.”
As part of the agreement, fellows will collaborate with selected students at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) on graduate research projects. The students will likely spend time at each other’s campus, with support from Danfoss and the fund. Danfoss, headquartered in Denmark, has an ongoing relationship with SDU, sponsoring many activities through the company’s Mads Clausen Foundation, and this agreement will expand and strengthen the existing relationship.
The collaboration with SDU will provide a path for SDU students to pursue graduate engineering study at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering in mechatronics, controls, material science and aerodynamics. Danfoss faculty fellows will provide them with mentorship and advising and the SDU students will continue their collaborations with the Danfoss graduate research fellows with guidance from FAMU-FSU Engineering and SDU faculty.
“This funding is another important step in the nearly decade-long collaboration between Danfoss and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, and it will be transformative in many ways,” said Farrukh Alvi, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and graduate studies and interim dean at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. “They’re providing financial support to our students who need and deserve it, while also creating a pathway for important research and international career connections that students would otherwise not have access to. This partnership is another notable step toward growing the number of career and research-ready engineers from first-generation and underrepresented groups, a high priority for both organizations.”