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Winston-Salem Quantum Education Collaboratory


Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE) has significant potential to revolutionize the world of computation in the near future and push the frontiers of science and engineering. To maintain leadership in the QISE research and development, the US needs a surge in the number of trained workforce with broad socioeconomic backgrounds. The skill sets required from the future QISE workforce ranges from high-level programming (i.e., algorithm development) to hardware engineering (i.e., building cryogenic systems). Despite increased diversity in the US population, the STEM fields including QISE are still suffering from large diversity gaps. Nevertheless, training a diverse population will be a key to maintaining US leadership in QISE research and innovation.

We are actively working to build a diverse quantum workforce by establishing the Winston-Salem Quantum Education Collaboratory (WS-QEC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The collaboratory of an interdisciplinary program is led by Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) Departments of Chemistry and Computer Science. WS-QEC is working with regional colleges and education centers in developing curricula that support the needs of the industrial and national labs in QISE. A key partner of the WS-QEC is Clemson University (CU) which provides access to state-of-the-art research facilities to complement the in-class learnings with hands-on experiences for the participants. The program integrates education and training for WSSU and CU students with broad socioeconomic backgrounds. WSSU is among the Top Public schools and Regional University South Ranking, rated by the 2022 U.S. News & World Report. The Department of Chemistry at WSSU offers a B.S. degree in Chemistry and minors in Chemistry and Physics.  The Department of Computer Science at WSSU offers B.S., and M.S. degrees in Computer Science (CS) and Information Technology (IT). The new science building at WSSU provides WS-QEC with ample collaboration spaces, modern STEM labs, and analytical instruments. WSSU serves a student population of over 5,000 students total, where over 400 students are in STEM fields, and 76% of whom are minority female students.

Project Goals

  1. To raise awareness of the emerging field of QISE in the Winston-Salem region through introductory courses and workshops for STEM students.
  2. To develop a minor degree program in QISE to further provide specialized training for students to pursue careers in QISE research and development.
  3. To provide a collaborative space for regional colleges (i.e. Salem Women’s College and NC community colleges) to develop their curriculum through collaboration with WS-QEC members.
  4. To create a sustainable pipeline for the underrepresented students to participate in QISE MS and Ph.D. programs at CU and other R1 institutions.

Funding Agency
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Department of Energy, Office of Science logo

Award Number

Advanced Scientific Computing Research - Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (DOE-ASCR-RENEW)

Research Internship
Summer Quantum Engineering
Internship Program (SQEIP)

Funding amount
$2.26 Million

Industrial Partners

Newark, an AVNET Company
Keysight Technologies

Project Team

WS-QEC Leadership

Dr. John Yi, Professor of Physical Chemistry
John T. Yi, Director
(Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh)
Professor of Physical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Winston Salem State University
Phone: (336) 750-2218

Dr. Kasra Sardashti, Clemson University
Kasra Sardashti, Associate Director
(Ph.D., University of California, San Diego)
Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Clemson University
Phone: (864) 656-8663

WS-QEC Project Leads:

Jinsuk Baek
Jinsuk Baek
(Ph.D., University of Houston)
Department of Computer Science
Winston Salem State University
Phone: (336) 750-3323

Dr. John Merle, Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry
John Merle
(Ph.D., Ohio State University)
Chair-Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
Winston Salem State University
Phone: (336) 750-2543

Dr. Chad Sosolik, Clemson University
Chad Sosolik
(Ph.D., Cornell University)
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Clemson University
Phone: (864) 656-0310

Dr. Xiuping Tao, Associate Professor of Physics
Xiuping Tao
(Ph.D., University of Georgia)
Associate Professor of Physics
Department of Chemistry
Winston Salem State University
Phone: (336) 750-2406

Dr. Lin Zhu, Clemson University
Lin Zhu
(Ph.D., California Institute of Technology)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Clemson University
Phone: (864) 656-4381