How We're Celebrating Black History Month

"For Black History Month 2021, we will be sharing interviews with prominent African Americans in the field of robotics. With this series, I hope that you will find their stories both interesting and inspiring.

"I have always been proud to see and experience the inclusiveness of our robotics community.  First as a coach, then a Regional Support Manager, and now Coordinator, I am always inspired to see teams of diverse membership work together for common goals both in and out of the competition."

- Corey McCoy, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, REC Foundation


Calvin Mackie, Ph.D.

Calvin Mackie, Ph.D. is the founder of STEM NOLA, a non-profit dedicated to exposing, inspiring, and engaging communities to STEM. His non-profit has engaged over 60,000 K-12 students in STEM through robotics camps and challenges. A native New Orleanian, he taught at Tulane University for 11 years before refocusing his career on entrepreneurship, consulting, and professional speaking. He received his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D.

Aprille Ericsson Ph.D. is the New Business Lead for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Systems and Technology Division. She is currently a member of the Board of Higher Education and Workforce for National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She received her doctorate from Howard University.

Norman Fletcher

Norman Fletcher is a Senior Global Engineering Manager at Expedia. He multi-tasks with cross-functional groups utilizing data to uncover opportunities for efficiency from algorithmic tweaks in AI and robotics to tectonic shifts in strategy. Norman completed his masters degree in computer science at Middlesex University with major project work in robotic software for paraplegics. He spent the last few years working in multiple countries to develop a fully automated robotic hand with a software to drive an extensive hardware, used by manufacturers including Hitachi, Seagate and Western Digital.

Angela Wells

Angela Wells is studying to receive her Masters of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She currently teaches courses at the City University of Seattle. Previously, she's taught courses in China and Vietnam.

A. Michael West Jr.

A. Michael West Jr. is pursuing his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He’s currently researching the use of robots for expediting human rehabilitation during physical therapy and improving human-robot physical interaction. After receiving his doctorate, he hopes to continue research as a tenured professor with the hopes of inspiring other African American students to pursue STEM-related fields.

Donna Auguste, Ph.D.

Donna Auguste, Ph.D. is the Founder/CEO of the Auguste Research Group, where she works extensively with sensors and sensor data fusion. She is an advocate for diversity in STEM education. She received her doctorate from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Quentin Sanders, Ph.D.

Quentin Sanders, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow at North Carolina State University. He received his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine and has had a passion for robotics ever since he was a child.

Carlotta A. Berry, Ph.D.

Carlotta A. Berry, Ph.D. is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She teaches students how to design mobile robots to be intelligent by creating control algorithms. She received her doctorate in Human-Robot Interaction from Vanderbilt University.
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