A University of Georgia assistant professor has received a $342,000 grant to study the success behind diversity in graduate engineering research labs. Her research will be conducted in a three-phase plan, according to a news release by UGA Today.
Cheryl Gomillion was awarded the two-year grant by the National Science Foundation. Gomillion has an eight person team in the Riverbend Research Lab South building, according to the release. Five are female, two are African American, one is from Nigeria and another is from China.
Gomillion will first learn research methods and analytical techniques from mentors, such as UGA’s Engineering Education Transformations Institute Directors Joachim Walther and Nicola Sochacka. She will then apply these techniques by investigating research lab examples where underrepresented students do well, according to the release. The final phase is to aim future STEM research towards expanding minority participation in graduate engineering programs.
Gomillion said in the release she will also interview students, alumni and faculty to find common themes that promote diversity.
Gomillion's main focus in the College of Engineering is working to engineer composite tissue replacements, mostly for craniofacial and orthopedic applications. She is also a member of UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center.
In fall 2019, around 74% of UGA’s graduate students that reported their race were white, according to data from the UGA Fact Book. UGA had 1,513 international students enrolled in UGA graduate programs in fall 2019, according to the Fact Book.