Fluor Support Creates Diverse Pipeline for Engineering and Business – UofSC News & Events
Published on: June 14, 2022; Updated on: June 14, 2022
By Page Ivey, [email protected], 803-777-3085
Brenden Chavis wants to follow in his father’s career footsteps, but he wants to do it on his own.
Chavis, a doctorate in computer science. student at the College of Engineering and Computer Science, says part of his interest in the field – which he describes as using existing technology to create new technologies – comes from his father and part just out of his own curiosity.
“My dad works in technology, and I’ve always admired him and the work he does very much,” says Chavis. “He was definitely one of my influences when choosing what I wanted to do with my life. But I was always drawn to technology – computers. let the next novelty come out.
With a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland and a master’s degree in data analytics from North Carolina A&T, Chavis is progressing through UofSC’s computer science doctoral program and plans to graduate in December 2023.
One of Chavis’ goals is to self-fund his education, and through programs funded by Fluor Corp., he does just that.
Chavis receives funding and internships from Fluor through the Graduate Degree Consortium for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM) as well as through the BRIDGE to the Doctorate Grant awarded by the National Science Foundation. Both programs aim to increase the number of underrepresented minority graduate students in engineering and other STEM fields.
Either way, the programs help provide a community of scholars and networking opportunities.
“The fraternity is meant to be a tight-knit community of like-minded thinkers,” Chavis says, adding that his father had also been a GEM fellow. “It was just something that made sense to me. I always wanted to be the person I got to graduate from.
Building a diverse talent pool for future employment needs is a primary goal of Fluor’s global college sponsorship programs at 33 colleges and universities around the world. South Carolina has been part of this program since 2010, but the university’s relationship with Fluor dates back to 1989.
The capstone course gives students the opportunity to learn more about Fluor and for us to get to know them and their abilities. Students with these types of experiences are more competitive after graduation. Over the years we have hired several UofSC students who are now volunteering their time to help the next generation of Capstone design students.
Torrence Robinson, Senior Director of Global Community Affairs and President of the Fluor Foundation
Currently, Fluor provides funding of approximately $50,000 per year that helps support several programs and student organizations in business and engineering schools. Fluor executives also serve on the university’s advisory boards.
Other engineering programs sponsored by Fluor include the First Generation program and Summer Start. At the Darla Moore School of Business, Fluor supports a diversity and inclusion program, the Net Impact Club, the Welcome Back “Business Bash”, Graduate Women in Business and the Institute for Management Accountants.
“The value is in the relationship, those opportunities for dialogue with faculty and students,” says Torrence Robinson, senior director of global community affairs and president of the Fluor Foundation. “We are focused on supporting current students to broaden the pool of graduates who will work not only in our core areas of engineering, procurement and construction, but also in other areas of applied science and business. .”
Robinson says about 100 of Fluor’s current employees are South Carolina graduates, including 1992 mechanical engineer Zane Reed. Reed, manager of Fluor’s mechanical equipment department, also leads Fluor’s Capstone Senior Project, which brings together engineering students and Fluor employees to work on real engineering challenges.
“The capstone course gives students the opportunity to learn more about Fluor and for us to get to know them and their abilities,” says Robinson. “Students with these types of experiences are more competitive after graduation. Over the years we have hired several UofSC students who are now volunteering their time to help the next generation of Capstone design students.
Chavis has also had this type of experiential learning as well as a GEM Fellow, most recently working at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory on a variety of projects.
“I can do all the research I want to do. I can push myself further in my studies,” says Chavis. “These scholarships have given me an opportunity that I never really thought I would have, and I’m able to do it myself, which I’m really proud of.”
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Topics: Students, Alumni, Academics, Research, Scholarships, Graduate Studies, Partnerships, Careers, Student Voices, College of Engineering and Computer Science