NASHVILLE, Tennessee, February 9, 2024 – SSOE Group (www.ssoe.com), an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, is proud to announce that Ciera Wheeler is the recipient of its first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) scholarship.
Wheeler is a junior majoring in architectural engineering at Tennessee State University (TSU) in Nashville, Tennessee. She was selected by Dr. Catherine Armwood, the Chair of Civil and Architectural Engineering at TSU, based on her academic excellence and passion for pursuing a career in both engineering and architecture.
The SSOE HBCU annual scholarship is part of the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and aims to support students from underrepresented groups in the engineering and architecture fields. The scholarship provides financial assistance, mentoring, and networking opportunities with SSOE professionals and leaders. Wheeler will be paired with mentor, Kerry Siegrist, an engineering employee in SSOE’s Nashville office. Siegrist is a TSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. She will also meet with Vince DiPofi, SSOE’s CEO, to learn more about the firm’s vision and values.
Wheeler received the scholarship at the start of the 2023 academic year. She is the first of several students who will benefit from the SSOE HBCU scholarship program. SSOE is currently working with other universities such as Alabama A&M University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Tuskegee University on other support opportunities.
Candice Harrison, SSOE’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) commented on the scholarship stating, “We are excited to establish this annual scholarship which supports the firm’s vital efforts to help close the gap in the disproportionate number of underrepresented groups in the AEC industry. SSOE congratulates Ciera on being the first scholarship recipient, and we look forward to supporting her academic and professional growth. We would also like to thank Tennessee State University and Dr. Armwood for their collaboration and partnership in this initiative.”
The undergraduate architectural engineering program at TSU involves all engineering aspects of building performance, integrated with the building’s architectural requirements. Architectural engineering students study all engineering aspects of building performance systems including structural systems design; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning design; electrical and power design; and construction and project management. The four-year curriculum also includes courses in architectural design intended to impart appreciation and a basic understanding of aesthetic design, as well as create an understanding of the relationship between architectural design and engineering. The design experience culminates in a year-long capstone design course.
Learn more about SSOE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts and notable milestones here.