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Tuskegee U. Becomes First HBCU to Win First-Place in National Homebuilders Contest

The Tuskegee University Student Chapter of NAHB with TU President Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, TSACS Dean Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, Interim Construction Science Dept. Head (and team coach) Dr. Charner Rodgers, and Architecture Dept. Head Dr. Qwesi Daniels at the Booker T. Washington monument. (Tuskegee University)
The Birmingham Times

Tuskegee University’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Student Chapter made history as the first HBCU to win first place in the Four-Year College Production Home Builder category.

Forty-five teams representing universities, community colleges, high schools, and career technical schools across the U.S. participated in the annual student competition in Orlando, Florida.

Students on the Tuskegee team spent an entire semester preparing by working through real-world construction management problems, under the guidance of coach Dr. Charner Rodgers and assistant Mariah Stewart.

“This win is so emotional for me. Being the first HBCU to win is very special,” said Dr. Charner Rodgers, Associate Professor and Senior Program Coordinator, Industry Relations and Recruitment, Tuskegee University. “Tuskegee has let the world of residential construction know that African Americans are not only capable of being great project managers, schedulers, estimators, but are willing and ready to be in this industry as knowledgeable key players.”

“We are so proud of our Tuskegee students who made history [in February during Black History Month] as the first HBCU to win and compete nationally,” said President Charlotte P. Morris. “This win will prepare our students for future careers within the building industry. For the last three years, our students have shown their resilience, and this national win is a testament to the caliber of professors here at Tuskegee.”

The 10-member team was tasked with creating a development plan for a 120-acre parcel in North Texas, and then presenting it to a panel of judges made up of industry experts. In addition to sharing their work, students had an opportunity to network and learn from industry pros during the event.

“Being able to represent our university at an international level was an unimaginable feeling of achievement,” said Alex Jones, fifth-year architecture major and two-time recipient, Student of the Year Award. “The hours spent with the team and our advisor were priceless lessons of dedication and perseverance. This opportunity has established many connections and relationships that allow myself and my teammates to have confidence as we begin our careers.”

This year, the NAHB Student Competition was part of the 2022 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS).

This isn’t the first time Tuskegee University students has made history at the event. They competed in the NAHB Student Competition for the first time in 2020, and were the first all-female African American team to ever participate. They took home the “Rookie of the Year” award and placed seventh.

That accolade comes one month after the United States Department of Defense announced its launch of Aerospace Education Research and Innovation Center (AERIC) at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Tuskegee University was chosen for this new center because of their history and relationship with aerospace.

Tuskegee University began its Aerospace Science Engineering Department in 1983, offering a Bachelor of Science degree and were the first HBCU to offer an accredited bachelor’s degree program in the field.

Tuskegee University is currently the number one school producing Black aerospace engineers in the nation. Their graduates are known for working in the aerospace industry, and faculty members often work on sponsored research projects relating to aerospace as well.