Evbarunegbe and Olisedeme-Akpu Win Prestigious Scholarships from the National Society of Black Engineers
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Boston Professionals has awarded graduate student Nelson Evbarunegbe of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department and undergraduate George Olisedeme-Akpu of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department scholarships from the NSBE Boston Scholarship Program. NSBE established the scholarship program to support its professional and collegiate members majoring in disciplines related to the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). Evbarunegbe received a $1,500 NSBE scholarship, while Olisedeme-Akpu’s award was $3,000.
Evbarunegbe is an M.S. student on a Ph.D. track in the ChE department who is also working on his M.S. in the Computer Science Department. He earned his B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Benin in Nigeria, ranking third in a class of 92.
Among the research projects worked on by Evbarunegbe at UMass Amherst is a study of “AI-assisted polymer coating formulations – fingerprint benchmarking,” which is also his ChE M.S. Thesis. In addition, some of his other works and projects include researching the design of the combustion chamber of a coal-fired combustor; studying to optimize biodiesel production from waste vegetable oil using a functionalized cow-horn catalyst; and development of a scalable and efficient machine-learning ensemble for determining the outcomes of National Football League games.
Evbarunegbe’s leadership experiences include serving as a graduate advisor to the Dean of Engineering. In addition, he is currently the social chair of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Society, a graduate student advisor for NSBE, and a Chemical Engineering student representative to the national organization for the UMass Amherst chapter of the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers.
Among several of Evbarunegbe’s professional experiences, he has served as a process and data engineering trainee at Deep Water Consultancy & Engineering Services Limited in Lagos, Nigeria, and as a data analyst intern for Hash Analytics.
Olisedeme-Akpu is projected to earn his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2024. He is also working on a Minor in Information Technology, is a student in the UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College, is on the Dean’s List, and has received a UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Scholarship.
Among other work experiences, Olisedeme-Akpu was a design and engineering intern for the summer of 2022 at the General Dynamics Electric Boat complex in Groton/New London, Connecticut. As part of that position, he communicated with internal stakeholders to collect and verify technical and scheduling data, redesigned process schedules to assist engineers in keeping track of consecutive and simultaneous processes, supported production control in troubleshooting material tag issues and implementing solutions, and organized data to support design review for upper management and the Navy.
Olisedeme-Akpu currently does research in the Human Performance Laboratory, where he collects and analyzes data on human interactions with autonomous driving systems and provides relevant and constructive feedback on peer-reviewed research papers. He is also a senator in the UMass Amherst chapter of NSBE and a member of both Pi Tau Sigma and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. (April 2023)