Meet the College of Engineering and Computing Degree Celebration Speaker


Robert Simmons, EdD leads all social impact philanthropy and STEM programming in North America and STEM programming for Micron Technology and the Micron Foundation. As a noted scholar on issues of racial equity, Simmons also serves as a scholar in residence and Scholar of Antiracist Praxis at the School of Education at American University where he continues his research in the education policy and leadership department. 

Robert Simmons in grey shirt
Robert Simmons will speak at the 2023 Degree Celebration at EagleBank Arena on May 19.

As a member of the Diversity Scholars Network at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, his research for the last 15 years has focused on racial equity, STEM education, and the lived realities of historically marginalized communities across multiple K-12 contexts. More specifically, he explores the experiences of Black students and teachers, equity in STEM, and the lived experiences of Black fathers.

The founding director of the Center for Innovation in Urban Education at Loyola University, Simmons was one of the first African American men to become a tenured associate professor of science education and urban education, with a joint appointment in African/African American Studies, and served as a research associate at the Baltimore Education Research Consortium at Johns Hopkins University. 

Simmons has authored more than 50 publications, focusing on race and racial justice, including “Talking About Race,” a highly acclaimed edited collection of essays. His next book will focus on the experience of Black STEM teachers and Black fathers’ love for their sons identified on the autism spectrum.

A former middle school science teacher in the Detroit Public Schools with a doctorate in education, Simmons was nominated twice as the Walt Disney National Teacher of the Year and once for the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation Outstanding Educator Award. As a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation and the Fulbright Memorial Fund, he traveled to Costa Rica and Japan to study educational systems and conduct environmental research in the rainforest.

Selected for the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Education and Human Development at Western Michigan University and the BE Modern Man Award from Black Enterprise, Simmons has dedicated over 20 years of his professional life to supporting urban youth, their families, and the community.