Engineering

Asante Lloyd: A Shining Star for The Why You? Initiative

Asante Lloyd

(Photo Credit: Asante Lloyd)

One of the most important services offered by The Why You? Initiative, a national non-profit organization committed to advancing and empowering young students and young professionals, is mentoring. In Critique of Pure Reason, renowned German philosopher Immanuel Kant posits that “Examples are the go-cart of judgment.” From Kant’s perspective, therefore, if a person desires quality judgment, then he or she needs quality examples. The Why You? Initiative, affectionately known as “[YU?],” is increasingly becoming a national leader in supplying America with the effective examples this perilous and disconcerting epoch necessitates. Under the leadership of Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, [YU?] Co-Founders, and their executive leadership team, Marie Beasley, Donald Dantzler, and John Hubbard, the next generation of national and international leaders in sundry fields and spaces are emerging. Asante Lloyd, a native of Augusta, Georgia, is one such future leader the organization is developing.

Mr. Lloyd, a junior Civil Engineering major at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, plans to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering after graduating with his undergraduate degree. Over the past three years, Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels has served as Asante’s main mentor. Daniels has known him since he was a toddler. Through an extended discourse with Daniels, Lloyd became inspired to earn a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. His original plan was to begin his career in the field after earning his undergraduate degree. [YU?] motivates young students and young professionals across the nation to reach their highest potential. Dr. Daniels is keenly aware of Asante’s intellectual acumen and does not want him to limit himself to earning just an undergraduate degree. Lloyd appreciates this academic advisement, and he has resolved to expand his career possibilities by embarking on the challenging, yet rewarding journey to a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

As a high school student-athlete, Mr. Lloyd excelled academically and athletically, receiving numerous awards for football and track and superior academic achievement. He was even named Scholar-Athlete of the Year during his final year in high school. Asante evinced the reality that black male student-athletes can experience greatness in the classroom and fields and courts of athletic competition. He graduated with honors from a competitive magnate high school in Augusta, Georgia, obtaining a nationally and internationally reputable international baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Although he loves Mathematics and Science, and has always performed really well in those subjects, Asante has made great grades in all subjects. As Lloyd enters his junior year, his academic success persists—he’s still an honor student.

While his academic and athletic prowess and success are noteworthy, they do not even compare to his character. Asante is the type of child any parent desires to have. His parents, Felicia Mack and Roderick Lloyd, have done an excellent job rearing him, and they are quite proud of the accomplished young man he has become. One never hears a credible negative word spoken about him.

[YU?] prides itself on helping young students and young professionals, especially those who emerge from underrepresented backgrounds, to secure meaningful internships, including nationally competitive ones. This is why the organization’s leadership was enthused about Mr. Lloyd being selected last summer as a Scholar-Intern by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).  Impressed by his work last summer, Asante’s supervisors at the DOE invited him to return this summer to work for the agency at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, and he recently completed this summer’s internship experience at the DOE.

As a DOE Scholar-Intern, Mr. Lloyd gained valuable research experience in the field, and he was able to make significant contributions to the DOE, contributions that will benefit all Americans. He was able to gain knowledge and critical insights from national and international experts in his field, and these two years of experience have buttressed his understanding of how to engage in sophisticated research, apply data-driven approaches to solving complex problems, and work collaboratively with novice and experienced engineers.

[YU?] salutes Asante Lloyd for his accomplishments and for operating in a spirit of excellence.

If you would like to learn more about the work The Why You? Initiative does and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit http://www.whyyou.org. You may also donate to the organization by texting “YU” to 41444.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

Co-Founder

The Why You? Initiative

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Noteworthy Engineering-Related Kickstarter Campaigns

Engineers always seem to have an idea for a project or two (or 10) rolling around in their heads, and a young platform is providing them with a chance to bring these ideas to life.  Kickstarter.com is a crowdfunding site where users can donate to aspiring startups.  Donors only pay if the project reaches a set financial goal, and campaigns offer incentives to boost donations.  From equipment that turns street scaffolding into furniture to toys that inspire girls to pursue engineering, innovative projects are gaining support from a pool of interested donors, and civil and technical engineers are flocking to this popular platform.

Softwalks

New York is a mecca for civil engineering. Construction and renovation are frequent, so city residents are used to scaffolding. Softwalks, a project that began at Parsons the New School for Design, aims to transform these unsightly frames into community relaxation spots.  The idea is to add seating, plant holders and counters to these structures.  Pedestrians can use these sidewalk shelters to take a phone call, read the paper or drink coffee. Softwalks raised more than $13,000 on Kickstarter, and it expects to begin renovating sidewalks in the near future.  If residents enjoy this beautification project, it could lead to increased interest in sidewalk scaffolding.

GoldieBlox

Engineering student Debbie Sterling loved what she studied, but she noticed her field was dominated by men.  In an effort to get little girls interested in Engineering, Sterling developed GoldieBlox, a series of books and construction toys geared toward girls.  It’s an answer to Legos, Kinex and Lincoln Logs, toys that build spacial skills but are generally geared toward boys.

Sterling’s idea took off.  She hoped to raise $150,000 on Kickstarter but ended up raising more than $280,000.  Today, GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine are available at Toys R Us, and another design is on the way.  A new generation of female engineers will unwrap this unprecedented toy for Christmas.

Formlabs 3-D Printer

Few technologies incite excitement about the future of technology more than 3-D printing.  Kickstarter is a breeding ground for this technology, and Formlabs developed one of the first consumer-focused 3-D printers.  The Form 1 3-D printer is one of the greatest success stories in Kickstarter history. Formlabs hoped to raise $100,000 during its 30-day campaign.  When the last day was up, it had raised just short of $3 million to develop this innovative device.  The Form 1 is available for pre-order and will ship in February 2014.

Melon

Who couldn’t use a little more focus?  Melon is a Kickstarter-funded EEG device that measures brain activity.  This headband connects to an app to deliver real-time measurements of your focus.  Melon also blew its Kickstarter goal out of the water, raising nearly $300,000.  There’s no word yet on when Melon will hit the market, but this jewel of technical engineering will change the way we stay focused.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison