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Cullen College Professor Wins Outstanding Young Alumni Award

By: 

Rashda Khan
Jerrod Henderson, instructional associate professor at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, with some of his students.
Jerrod Henderson, instructional associate professor at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, with some of his students.

Jerrod Henderson Recognized for Diversity and Student Success Efforts

 

Jerrod Henderson, instructional associate professor at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, will receive the 2019 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from his alma mater. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois chose seven alumni to recognize.

The LAS awards announcement described Henderson as a “passionate educator who has committed himself to increasing the number of underrepresented students obtaining degrees and pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Henderson graduated in 2010 with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and later served as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois. While there, he co-founded the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy – an innovative after-school program aimed to introduce underrepresented minority boys in fourth- and fifth- grade to hands-on, inquiry-based STEM activities.

He joined the Cullen College in 2016 as an instructional assistant professor for the First Year Experience Program and expanded the St. Elmo Brady program to UH.

The UH St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy encompasses a partnership across disciplines and programs, allowing different skills, expertise and resources to work together for a common goal. It brings together the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Education, the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, the Charter School and teachHouston, a program that prepares students to teach math and science.

Henderson is also director of the college’s Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies or PROMES. The program was established at the University of Houston in 1974 for the recruitment, retention and academic development of Hispanic, African American and Native American students in the Cullen College of Engineering. Today PROMES is open to all students in the college, and its mission is to provide a positive learning environment that supports the needs of undergraduate students.

As part of PROMES, Henderson is pioneering engineering faculty-led study abroad experiences to far-flung places like Brazil and Ghana.

“There is significant research linking increased student success and retention to students who have a good support system and community, as well as diverse experiences such as learning abroad and undergraduate research,” Henderson said. “I want to help provide as many opportunities to our students as possible.”

Previously, PROMES garnered two consecutive awards from INSIGHT Into Diversity, the largest and oldest U.S.-based diversity and inclusion magazine and website in higher education. PROMES was recognized with a 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award and Henderson was honored with a 2017 Inspiring Leader in STEM Award.

Henderson will receive this latest award at U of I’s homecoming celebrations later this month.

“Creating opportunities for our students to become successful and nurturing their success along the way is critical to the long-term outlook for our students, the Cullen College and the engineering ranks at-large,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College of Engineering. “Before we launch the next generation of great engineers, we foster their ability to learn, contribute and belong in our engineering community. These are lifelong skills they will take with them.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of Dr. Henderson for earning this tremendous and well-deserved honor,” he added.

To read the awards announcement on the LAS/U of I website, please visit: https://las.illinois.edu/news/2019-07-29/college-las-names-2019-alumni-award-winners

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