The innovative efforts of a group of engineering students from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas resulted in their recent win at the 2016 Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Challenge. The four aspiring engineers created a software app that allows homeowners to keep an eye on energy and water use in real-time, ultimately saving money and resources. For their groundbreaking app, the team was awarded $75,000 in scholarships, grants and implementation funds to support the next steps of their venture.
Teams from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina took home second- and third-place prizes of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. The Hampton students created a program to monitor sea levels, a capability especially helpful for communities that are at risk of flooding, while the group from Johnson C. Smith University pursued a project to raise freshwater fish for consumption in local homes. As an added bonus, each member of the winning teams received an iPad.
Pamela Alexander, the director of community development at Ford Motor Company Fund, commended the winning students on their accomplishments.
“We received numerous outstanding entries from Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country,” she said. “Although selecting the three winners was extremely difficult, we’re proud the challenge encouraged all of the students to think about how they can support their communities.”
Modeled after the Ford College Community Challenge, the Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Challenge celebrated its fourth year with this year's initiative. The Ford College Community Challenge, one of Ford Fund's signature programs, strives to challenge students on a global scale and has awarded $400,000 in scholarships, grants and implementation funds to date. Project challenges revolve around addressing critical sustainability needs in entrants' communities.
According to Raj Register, the manager for multicultural communications at Ford, partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities aligns with the Blue Oval's leadership in innovation. “Ford is proud to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities with this unique program showcasing such talented and pioneering students,” she said.
Learn more about Ford's support for education by talking to our representatives at Sound Ford in Seattle, Washington today.