Charles Magee, Ph.D., Florida A&M University professor of the Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering (BASE) program, is a co-author of a new book published by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) titled “Models for Success: Successful Academic Models for Increasing the Pipeline of Blacks and Hispanics Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Areas.”
The book highlights successful STEM programs at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The BASE program in the FAMU College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA) has been identified by the TMCF as a successful STEM program.
Magee is the author of Chapter 5 of the book, “Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering (BASE): A Success in STEM at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.” The chapter includes statistical data that supports the need for developing a pipeline to help increase minority representation in STEM areas, as well as an in-depth perspective of the history and implementation of the biological and agricultural systems engineering program at Florida A&M University.
“This recognition is very significant for our BASE program, as it will help us attract more students, especially among minorities, to train for STEM professions that offer tremendous opportunities for young people to excel in life,” said Makola Abdullah, Ph.D., dean and director of Land-Grant Programs, FAMU College of Engineering Sciences Technology and Agriculture. “Being identified in this book as a “model of success” in STEM is a testament to the excellence of the BASE program and the commitment of Dr. Magee, the faculty and our staff.”
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund selected FAMU’s BASE program because during its short 13-year history, two Ph.D. graduates have been produced in biological engineering and molecular biology, and there are five BASE graduates presently pursuing Ph.D.s in STEM fields. The program began at FAMU in 1996. Since May 2000, 38 students have graduated from the BASE program. Out of the 38 students, 18 have gone to graduate school at 14 different universities.
Magee’s own story is one of a STEM professional. A 1970 graduate of Alcorn State University majoring in general agriculture, Magee earned the master of science in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota (1973) and his Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell /university in 1980. He was the third African American to receive a doctorate degree in this field. During his career, Magee has received recognition for significant “firsts” including being the first African American hired as an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville; and he received the first United States patent in the history of Fort Valley State University.
The TMCF publication will be shared with libraries and directors of STEM programs at other universities. Through this academic network, it is anticipated that more BASE graduates will be recruited by universities for graduate study in STEM fields.