The University of Houston Department of Industrial Engineering is one of only five such departments in the country to be approved for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Doctoral Scholarship Program for Underrepresented Minorities.
The Cullen College of Engineering currently has three doctoral students in the program: Erick Jones, Edmund Morris, and Gabriel Sanchez. Industrial Engineering Professor Christopher Chung administers the program.
The national foundation program targets and actively recruits African-American, Hispanic-American and Native American minority students to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, natural science and engineering. "The foundation's intention is to increase the number of minority Ph.D.s."
To that end, the foundation provides Sloan Scholarships directly to minority Ph.D. candidates, but works through the university to approve the students' expenditures and review academic progress. Each Sloan Scholarship awarded also triggers a recruiting grant to the faculty or office to support future recruiting of underrepresented minorities.
In May, Jones is likely to be the first Sloan Scholarship recipient to be awarded his Ph.D. He is currently working on a project focused on Cognitive Turnover. He is observing behavioral patterns among employees who have either mentally already quit their job or who need to be fired and are not yet aware of that. Other students in the program are studying the vulnerability of shipping ports to terrorist attacks or still taking courses.