Akinkuowo Receives Harvey Robert Turner Award

Tunde Akinkuowo
Carl-Ernst Rousseau, professor and chairman of URI’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering, left, presents the Turner Award to Tunde Akinkuowo. URI photo by Michael Salerno.

By Neil Nachbar

Senior Tunde Akinkuowo, who is completing his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering at URI, received the Harvey Robert Turner Award for Outstanding Service to the University of Rhode Island Black Community at URI’s 21st annual Black Scholar Awards ceremony on April 24.

“The award really came as a shock to me because I was notified at a time when I was really preoccupied with school work,” Akinkuowo said. “I am honored to receive this award.”

Academic Excellence

During the Providence native’s undergraduate career, he completed an industrial engineering internship with Pratt & Whitney, conducted research in the Microfluidics Laboratory at URI and competed in the Solar Car Challenge at North-West University in South Africa.

“Tunde has told me that his goal is to work in the area a process improvement, which doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Carl-Ernst Rousseau, chairman of URI’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering. “As his professor, I have always known him to seek the best approach to solving a problem, and to never rest until he reaches excellence.”

Community Service

As a senator and community service chairman for the URI student chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) and a member of Brothers on a New Direction (BOND), Akinkuowo participated in community service projects and mentorship efforts in the URI community, Providence and Pawtucket, RI.

“Giving back to the community and volunteering is important because it’s a way for us to progress as a community, whether it’s speaking to middle school students about college experiences or passing out lunches in downtown Providence,” Akinkuowo stated.

“During the past four years at URI, I have witnessed the growth of this budding engineer,” said Christopher Hunter, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at URI and coordinator of the awards ceremony. “He has become more self-aware and determined to embrace the things that drive him.”

Who is Harvey Robert Turner?

The Harvey Robert Turner Award is named after a man who is believed to be the first Black graduate of URI in 1914. He majored in civil engineering and was a member of the football and track teams.