GRAMBLING, La.(KTAL/KMSS) – Two graduate students at Grambling State University have been awarded IBM Masters Fellowships.
Crystal Shelling, a psychology major from Monroe, Louisiana, and Elliott Howard, a social sciences student from Grambling, Louisiana, have been named recipients of the awards, each valued at $10,000.
Shelling was nominated by Dr. Kevin Washington who is the Head of Sociology and Psychology at GSU.
Dr. Washington said, “Crystal Shelling is an emerging scholar who has traversed many challenges to arrive at this point in her academic life. She has been negatively impacted by the very subject of her research, but she has persisted.”
Washington added, “Her resilience coupled with her insight and enhanced by her compassion and passion to make a difference within the world is encouraging. Crystal is destined to positively impact the mental health field because she has intellect and empathy. She makes us all want to do better for ourselves and others.”
Shelling said the fellowship will allow her to complete her program without worrying about financial assistance.
Shelling said, “Graduating with my masters degree has been a dream of mine and my mother for years, and I now proudly tell my mother with a sincere smile, I can finish now.”
Howard said he has long been interested in studying race in America, and is focusing on critical race theory in society.
Howard said, “This fellowship will help me accomplish a great deal. With it I will be able to finish out my masters program without funding being an issue. It will allow me to keep buying literature to help my understanding of my field.”
Howard was nominated by Social Sciences Professor Dr. Matthew Sheptoski.
Dr. Sheptoski, “Elliott is a standout among his cohort. I have known him for a number of years; he has taken countless courses with me, presenting his research on several occasions to the Grambling community as well as attending and presenting at regional sociology conferences. I am consistently impressed with his perseverance and incredible attitude, both of which are unwavering.”
The 2020 IBM Masters Fellowship program supports IBM’s long-standing commitment to workforce diversity and encourages the nomination of women, minorities, and others who contribute to diversity.
Specifically, this innovative new IBM Fellowship seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds focusing on strategic areas of science.
IBM Chief Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer Carla Grant Pickens said, “We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs.
Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation, and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence.”
For more information on this program visit