Three Black women graduates have been awarded a top prize.

According to a press release provided to AFROTECH™, Central State University (Ohio) graduates Myesha Burnette, Shawntae Thompson, and Baijing Zinnerman, have received accolades for their research in material and process engineering. They grabbed top honors during the Midwest Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Student Competition hosted at the University of Dayton Research Institute in Dayton, OH.

SAMPE is a nonprofit organization and technical society that targets various areas of materials and processes (M&P), its website mentions. Among its initiatives includes aiding student chapters, providing information and forums, and offering scholarships and awards.

“SAMPE provides growth and educational opportunities via conferences, exhibitions, technical forums, and publications. As the only technical society encompassing all fields of endeavor in materials and processes, SAMPE provides a unique and valuable forum for scientists, engineers, and academicians,” information on its website reads.

Burnette, Thompson, and Zinnerman were recognized for their 12-page, peer-reviewed research paper with Dr. Alessandro Rengan, an associate professor of manufacturing engineering, leading the authorship. Their research centered on a critical element of polymer composite adhesion to metal, aiming to create a bond that is lightweight yet resilient. The Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students observed a strong bond between the polymer composite and metal after experimenting with lightweight aluminum.

Their findings can be applied to innovating the materials found in electric vehicles to enhance efficiency and performance.

“This research comes at a crucial time, considering the burgeoning global electric vehicle industry,” the press release read.

Thompson and Burnett were each awarded a $100 check and a free annual membership to SAMPE for their findings in April 2024, according to information provided to AFROTECH™. Their work took two years to complete under the guidance of Rengan.

Zinnerman assisted Thompson and Burnett for their final two months of the study and was not awarded a monetary prize.