College of Engineering Ph.D. candidates and families recognized


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (May 13, 2013) — Five Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. candidates, their families and friends were during a luncheon May 9. Hosted by the College of Engineering and the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, the event was held in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference at Tuskegee University. The five candidates: David Baah, Rozlyn Chambers, Alfred Tcherbi-Nartech, Sandrea Brundidge-Young and Gregory Strawder graduated May 11 during the 128th Spring Commencement Exercises.

Tuskegee University is the only Historically Black College and/or University that has a Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The Ph.D. program was implemented in 1998. Since then, the university has graduated 26 Ph.D. holders in the major and become the largest producer of black materials science and engineering Ph.D. graduates in the nation. 

Originally from Odumase Krobo in Ghana, Baah aspires to a career in teaching and research and development of new materials for drug delivery, abrasives and energy storage. His research involved the “use of microfluidics technology to synthesize non-spherical particles that are useful as drug delivery agents.

“I feel like Tuskegee has empowered me, and I am going out there to use my knowledge to serve the cause of humanity. And for this, I am most grateful,” Baah said. 

Chambliss is a native of Tuskegee and pursuing employment in education or the government. While partnering with NASA, she had an opportunity to study the mechanical and thermal properties of polymers and polymer nanocomposites through computer simulation. She studied plastics such as polyethylene and made composites out of polyethylene and a single wall nanotube. Through the use of nanocomposites, new materials can be developed that are lightweight yet strong with versatile applications.

“It still seems unreal that I am finally finished with my educational pursuits. I am very excited and optimistic about all of the possibilities that lie ahead for my future. What I have appreciated most about my time at Tuskegee University is the opportunity that I have had to enhance my technical skills, which has helped me grow as a researcher,” Chambliss said.

“At the same time I have a bittersweet feeling about it all coming to an end. I have met many great faculty, staff, and students that have all played a major part in my Tuskegee experience. As a student at Tuskegee, I have been inspired to see my potential as a scientist and engineer. As I leave my alma mater, I know that I am prepared to make major contributions to today’s world.”

Tcherbi-Nartech, is from Ghana and will be taking a position with Tuskegee University. His project was about finding ways to minimize UV radiation effects on materials for everyday use, such as plastic chairs and tables for outdoor use, and other advanced materials for other applications.

“My time at Tuskegee University has been very rewarding. I had the opportunity to visit the South with all its hospitality, and had the chance to work with people from different backgrounds in the program,” Tcherbi-Nartech said. “Having a Ph.D. is a great achievement and it feels good to be part of the world of Ph.D. engineers.”

Gregory Strawder is from Albany, Ga., and employed a materials, process and physics engineer for Boeing Co. in Charleston, S.C. His dissertation project involved modifying the foam core material of a sandwich composite structure with three different types of natural fillers, while investigating the effects of the fillers on the mechanical, thermo mechanical and thermal properties of the foam materials. 

“Obtaining my doctorate is a surreal feeling. The dream that I envisioned from the day I enrolled in college is coming to fruition. However it was a very humbling experience,” Strawder said. “My Tuskegee experience is something that I’ll forever be grateful for because I was able to establish many life-long relationships and it provided me with the tools that I need to succeed in corporate America.”

Brundidge-Young is from Birmingham, Ala., and plans to pursue postdoctoral teaching and research for either a university or the government. Her research focused on investigating the property effects of the space environment on aerospace vehicle exterior materials. The space environment was simulated by hypervelocity impact and ultraviolet radiation.

“As a first-generation Ph.D. recipient, I am honored beyond measure to have completed this major undertaking. The challenges here at Tuskegee have helped to develop me both personally and professionally,” she said. “It is with renewed confidence that I anticipate the opportunities that completing my studies here at the university will afford me. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I approach my end here at Tuskegee. I will be forever grateful for the expertise, influence, and guidance rendered by the faculty, administration, and staff here at the university.”

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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