Minority Serving Institutions collaborate to form research partnerships; plan for 2006 conference at UTPA
Posted: 10/03/2005
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The skyline of the Windy City was the backdrop for the Minority Serving Institutions Research Partnerships 2006 (MSIRP'06) Conference steering committee's third strategic planning meeting hosted in late August by The Boeing Company at their World Headquarters in Chicago, Ill.

The more than 50 participants in the MSIRP'06 planning meeting included representatives from government agencies, corporations and minority serving institutions (MSIs) including representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) will be the first HSI to host the MSIRP Conference.

More than 50 participants attended a planning meeting in Chicago recently hosted by The Boeing Company to plan for the MSIRP'06 Conference in March at The University of Texas-Pan American that will bring together a historic collaboration for research partnership of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities. Attendees pictured are from left to right Dr. Mary White, chair, Department of Entrepreneurship, Jackson State University; Oliver S. Leslie, HBCU/ MI program manager of The Boeing Company; Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, UTPA provost/ vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. Holly Youngbear-Tibbetts, dean of External Relations, and Melissa Cook, sponsored program specialist, both of the College of Menominee Nation; and Loren House, Enterprise Supplier Diversity HBCU/MI program manager, The Boeing Company.
Shelly Chtcherba, research coordinator for UTPA's Computing and Information Technology Center who is serving as the MSIRP'06 conference manager, opened the meeting by introducing Loren House, Enterprise Supplier Diversity HBCU/MI program manager for The Boeing Company.

"The Boeing Company is pleased to host the MSIRP'06 planning team. Boeing is committed to maximizing subcontracting opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions to provide quality products and professional services in support of companywide programs. We look forward to working with the MSIRP to achieve our mutual goals," House said.

On behalf of the 2006 conference host, Dr. Wendy Lawrence-Fowler, associate vice president for Research at UTPA, thanked those with the foresight to recognize the importance of the largely untapped intellectual capital of MSIs.

"MSIs are the best kept secret that this country has. The goal of this conference is for us (MSIs) to come together, partner and to tell the world about ourselves; to let agencies and corporations know not only about us, our research and our students but also to know about the economic impact we have on our regions," she said.

Next, Lee Allen, Bureau of Land Management, Denver Federal Center, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), and Katrina Emery, director of Antelope Valley Operations, NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center, described the evolution leading up to the MSIRP and emphasized the importance of the MSI collaborative research partnerships to the future success of federal research initiatives.

In addition to Chtcherba and Lawrence-Fowler, other UTPA attendees included Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Jackie Michel, director of Innovation and Intellectual Property; Sylvia Aldape, associate executive director of Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development; and Jessica Salinas, director of Veterans Business Outreach Center for Region VI.

Currently, the MSIRP'06 conference has the support of MSIs including Jackson State University, Southern and A&M University as well as Georgia Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, and Brown University.

MSIRP'06 Strategic Planning Meeting participants were recently hosted by The Boeing Company at their Chicago World Headquarters. Participants included representatives from government agencies, corporations and Minority Serving Institutions. UTPA will be the first Hispanic Serving Institution to host the MSIRP'06 conference in March.
Conference activities will include workshops, seminars, speeches, field visits, a student Career Expo and a Business Expo. Conference planners are looking to expand and promote opportunities for research, business and MSI student access for partnerships with corporations and federal agencies, contractors, universities and foundations. Entrepreneurship will be a central focus of the workshops designed to attract minority students from the 17,000 predominantly Hispanic students (87 percent) at UTPA as well as others from the more than 34,000 students from surrounding universities. The Business Expo and workshops will offer opportunities to learn about contracting and are expected to attract attendees from the 14,000 small businesses in the Deep South Texas region, where more than 2,800 of these businesses are ready now to do contracting.

For information on sponsorship and participation in the MSIRP conference, visit the conference Web site at