Press Release

Johns Hopkins APL Honored for Support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

US Black Engineer Magazine has recognized the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, as a top supporter of engineering schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs.

APL was among the top 20 “Government/Non-Profit Supporter” honorees for its efforts to strengthen education-to-employment pipelines for Black students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“The past couple of years were critical when it came to underserved communities staying connected through STEM,” said Tyrone Taborn, CEO of Career Communications Group, Inc., which publishes the magazine. “These supporters have gone above and beyond to help solidify the school-to-career pipeline within the HBCUs and the companies that are seeking top talent.”

The pipeline concept is very much a vision of APL’s STEM outreach programs, which focus on tapping students’ interest in science, math and engineering at an early age and fostering that interest through middle and high school and, ultimately, into the workforce. The Maryland MESA program is one example of this approach; founded at APL 45 years ago to reach children in underserved communities, the program now involves thousands of students in more than 100 schools in eight districts across the state.

“College recruiting is a large and important focus for APL, and outreach to HBCUs is a very big part that,” said Latonya Robinson, of the Laboratory’s Talent Services Department. “Attracting candidates with diverse backgrounds to APL is critical, and it’s exciting to be recognized for our efforts.”

Many APL staff members are graduates of HBCUs, in particular Morgan State University in Baltimore, Howard University in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. APL developed a mentoring program with Morgan State University in 2010 to provide mentoring and professional development resources to students in Morgan State’s School of Engineering.

The Lab’s highly competitive APL Technology Leadership Scholars (ATLAS) internship program focuses on undergraduate and graduate students in STEM disciplines attending HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities. The program has become a model for providing experiences that integrate challenging work opportunities with leadership, mentoring and professional development, and serves as an important pipeline for technical hiring at APL. There are 85 ATLAS interns at the Lab this summer.

The Laboratory is also a participant and founding member of the National GEM Consortium, a nonprofit network of corporations, government laboratories, universities and research institutions that enables highly qualified underrepresented students to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering.

“We are honored to be recognized as a top supporter of HBCUs,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “Diverse voices can lead to more effective solutions to the critical challenges facing our nation, and we are stronger when we work together. The Laboratory is committed to ensuring a highly diverse and inclusive environment where all may contribute and thrive.”

The Laboratory’s dedication to reaching college students attending HBCUs also aligns with its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workforce. One of the Laboratory’s formal organizational priorities is to be a model organization for diversity, inclusion and empowerment.