FAMU Names Google Student Scholars and Endowed Professorships

May 16, 2023
Malachi White & Marley Burrows
FAMU Names Google Student Scholars and Endowed Professorships

Google scholars, Malachi White and Marley Burrows

Florida A&M University (FAMU) named four Google endowed computer science and computer engineering professors and two Google student scholars as part of its push to enhance academic and research discovery and attain Carnegie Research 1 status.

Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Allyson Watson, Ph.D., said after Google made a $5 million investment into FAMU, the University decided to use those funds to enhance the academic and research discovery for scholars. Additionally, the Google investment will allow for student scholars in Computer and Information Sciences/Computer Science and Computer Engineering to be named Endowed Scholars, she said.

“The investment will also assist in upgrading laboratory spaces that we believe are necessary for the institution’s success,” Watson said.

Google Endowed ProfessorsGoogle Endowed Professors (from left): Hongmei Chi, Ph.D., Idongesit Mkpong-Ruffin, Ph.D., Shonda Bernadin, Ph.D., and Clement S. Allen, Ph.D.

Named Google Endowed Computer Science and Computer Engineering Professors were: Clement S. Allen, Ph.D., a College of Science & Technology (CST) associate professor of computer science and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) scholar; Shonda Bernadin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Hongmei Chi, Ph.D., a CST computer and information sciences professor; and Idongesit Mkpong-Ruffin, Ph.D., a CST associate professor in computer and information sciences and director of  the FAMU Center for Cybersecurity.

Chi, who served as the director of the Center for Cybersecurity from 2016 to 2021, said the Google-endowed professorship, will provide the resources and support necessary to conduct groundbreaking research and mentor and inspire the CIS students.

“I am committed to upholding the standards of excellence this professorship represents,” she said. 

The two Google Scholars are Marley Burrows, a junior computer science student from Marietta, Georgia, and Malachi White, a senior computer information systems student from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Burrows has technical experience in programming with Python, Linux, and C++ and has completed projects focused on data analysis, penetration testing, and cryptography. She has been an undergraduate research assistant and a study abroad ambassador and has participated in a naval summer bridge boot camp and the Girl Talk mentorship program.

“I am ecstatic to be a Google Scholar. As I continue my computer science major and pursue a career in software engineering, it really means a lot to know that Google is investing in the future success of young HBCU scholars,” Burrows said. “Representation matters, and long-standing partnerships like the Google Endowed Scholar program benefit the tech community as a whole.”

White has worked as an Apple support college adviser, providing customer service and technical support, and as a Medtronic HBCU Sales Apprenticeship Program participant, where he gained knowledge on medical device sales and learned sales and communication skills to increase revenue. He has also worked as an intern for the George Kaiser Family Foundation, supporting community relations programs and special events. White has completed projects using Three.js and JavaScript and has skills in Python, JavaScript, Node.js, Figma, HTML, CSS, Cyber Security, Git, Three.js, and C++.

“I am truly honored and grateful to be named one of the first Google scholars at Florida A&M University,” White said. “I hold this honor with high regard and will continue to excel in excellence here at the highest of seven hills.”