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ME Celebrates Black History Month


Black History Month Audio Series

The ME DEI Committee sits down with a different member of the ME community each week during Black History Month. 

2/22/2021, Audio Series #4 – Kaila Crosse

Kaila Crosse recently completed her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2020, closing out her dual degree program after spending 3 years at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, one of the premier historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the nation. In our conversation, we get a look into HBCU life as we talk about Kaila’s development at Spelman as well as her transition to Michigan and what she’s learned about herself and working with others as a budding engineer and designer.

Listen to Kaila Crosse’s interview

2/15/2021, Audio Series #3 – Alec D. Gallimore

Alec D. Gallimore is the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering and Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering. He was formerly Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education from 2011 to 2013 and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering from 2014 to 2016. He is a member of the Applied Physics graduate program, and from 2005 to 2011, Professor Gallimore served as an Associate Dean at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies where he was the Graduate School liaison to Michigan’s graduate programs in engineering, the physical sciences, and mathematics. Professor Gallimore’s primary research interests include electric propulsion, plasma diagnostics, space plasma simulation, electrode physics, nano-particle energetics and hypersonic aerodynamics/plasma interaction. In our conversation, we talk about Professor Gallimore’s youth and early career, including his early dream to be an astronaut, his passion for justice and building a culture of inclusivity at Michigan, and the people who have had the most positive impact on his life.

Listen to Alec Gallimore’s interview

2/8/2021, Audio Series #2 – Kaitlyn Mallett

Kaitlyn Mallett earned her Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2017. While completing her Ph.D., Kaitlyn worked with Prof. Ellen Arruda to experimentally characterize native ACL and replacement grafts to elucidate their material properties. Her work led to the development of accurate theoretical constitutive models that capture the mechanical response of biological specimens. Kaitlyn then went on to work on an innovative team at Intel Corporation, looking to address problems at Intel sites and ahead to the future of the company. In our conversation, we talk with Kaitlyn about her early education as a home-schooled student, some key lessons she learned as a graduate student at UM, and what Black History month means to her.

Listen to Kaitlyn Mallett’s interview

2/1/2021, Audio Series #1 – David Kwabi

David Kwabi is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department. He obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. His research group investigates the interplay between electrochemical charge transfer reactions and bulk phase transformations, involving expertise in mechanical engineering, physical chemistry, and materials science.

Listen to David Kwabi’s interview

Black History Month Book Club

Weekly during February | Time TBD | Virtual

As part of our celebration and recognition of February as Black History Month, our ME Grad Council (MEGC) is organizing a weekly Book Club using a book recommended by GSBES (Graduate Society of Black Engineers and Scientists). The book they have selected is “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. If you don’t wish to participate in the book club, we encourage you to treat the book as a community reading project.

Cover image of Homegoing by Yaa GyasiAbout the book: Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the notorious Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and shipped off to America to be sold into slavery.

With breathtaking scope, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the slave traders of the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the Asantes’ struggle against British colonialism to the first stirrings of the American Civil War, from the jazz of twentieth-century Harlem to the sparkling shores of modern Ghana. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.


Share Your Story

Last year, in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month, U-M ME highlighted some of our many incredible Black faculty, students, and alumni.

Read their stories