Top Astrophysicist, Television Personality to Keynote A&T Title III Graduate Symposium

09/21/2017 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

dr-hakeem-oluseyi.jpgGreensboro, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2017) – Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi (ole-oo-shay), an internationally recognized astrophysicist and television personality is the keynote speaker for the debut Title III Graduate Symposium set for 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29, in the McNair Hall Auditorium (Rm. 240) , at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The talk is free and open to the public.

Oluseyi, a co-host for programs on the Science Channel and Discovery International and a distinguished research professor at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), will deliver the talk, “Unlimited Horizons: Reflections on an Unimagined Journey From ‘Gangsta Nerd’ to Astrophysicist.” The lecture will focus on how the challenges of his external environment did not preempt his success as an astrophysicist, science educator and advocate. He will also share insights on the future of scientific exploration and conduct a presentation for graduate students.

Oluseyi earned the “Gangsta Nerd” nickname through a background one might not expect of an astrophysicist and through his dogged pursuit of dreams bigger than many might have considered possible.

Born in New Orleans, Oluseyi spent much of his childhood in challenging circumstances in some of the country’s toughest neighborhoods – Watts in Los Angeles and Inglewood, both in California, and Houston’s Third Ward – before his family finally settled in rural Mississippi. He flourished there and began to spread his wings academically, graduating as his high school’s valedictorian in 1985.

After serving two years in the Navy, Oluseyi entered Tougaloo College, a private, historically black institution in Tougaloo, Mississippi, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in both mathematics and physics.

Oluseyi next set his sights on graduate school and was accepted into Stanford University, home to one of the nation’s best physics programs. He earned a master’s and a Ph.D. and became involved in space research.

He continued his studies as an E. O. Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Physics Division before joining the physics faculty at the University of Alabama in Huntsville for three years. Since 2007, he has been at FIT, where he earned his distinguished research professor position last year.

Along the way, he has published more than 80 scientific and technical publications and books and secured 11 patents. He has also lived out an enormous commitment to science education, with a particular focus on underserved populations in America and in the Third World.

That commitment has included co-hosting such shows as “Outrageous Acts of Science,” “How the Universe Works” and “Strip the Cosmos” on the Science Channel as well as “You Have Been Warned” and “Deadly Dilemmas,” on Discovery International. In addition, Oluseyi routinely appears on news networks such as CNN, NBC and MSNBC to provide a scientific perspective.

Title III is a federal grant program that provides support to strengthen various aspects of schools through a formula grant to historically black colleges and universities. For more information about the presentation, visit The Graduate College Symposium online.