Based on his work inside
and outside of the Agency,
in 2022 a Mural of Shepard
was placed in the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC)
building in Rockville, Maryland
Robert Louis Shepard, PhD
The Shepard Institute (TSI), LLC
505 Redland Blvd
Rockville, MD 20850
Curriculum Vitae Summary
Robert Louis Shepard, PhD has pushed hard for increase participation of faculty and students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the federal government's research enterprise. Early in his federal career Shepard provided definitive data showing the role a small cadre of these institutions can play in conducting high-quality research. In 1984, he was in the Office of Research at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when he successfully secured joint funding from inside the agency to create NRC's first HBCU research support program. That same year, NRC granted Shepard a leave of absence under the Intergovernmental Personnel Assistance (IPA) program to become a Visiting Research Scientist in the Department of Chemistry at Howard University. Shepard used his IPA assignment to develop a conceptual framework demonstrating how collaborations and partnerships could be used to strengthen the research infrastructure at HBCUs resulting in more research output by these institutions.
At the end of his IPA assignment in 1988, Shepard returned to NRC. In 1990, he resigned from NRC to lead the formation of a University, Government, and Federal Laboratory 501(c)(3), non-profit partnership called the Science and Engineering Alliance, Inc. (known as SEA). SEA members included four HBCUs and a national laboratory. The HBCUs were: Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, AL); Jackson State University (Jackson, MS); Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, TX); and Southern University and A&M College (Baton Rouge, LA). The national laboratory was Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) who joined as an associate member, bringing the total SEA membership to five.
As Founding Executive Director/CEO of SEA, Shepard handled all aspects of SEA beginning with negotiating space for the new non-profit in the heart of what is known as "Lobby Row" at 1522 K Street in Northwest Washington, DC. Once established, he oversaw the management operations including facilities, equipment, program development, budgeting, and staffing with the mission to open more doors for research opportunities and expand access for faculty and students at HBCUs.
At SEA, he served as the scientific and business representative to federal agencies and other external groups on matters relating to broadening participation of HBCUs and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in federally funded research and development (R&D) programs. Leading a small staff of four, his operating strategy was that the sum of SEA's collective strength was greater than that of its individual members. Collaborations and partnerships were the foundation for developing long-term R&D funding opportunities for these underrepresented academic institutions. Shepard's analytical work through SEA led him to become a chief negotiator for inclusion of HBCUs in the federal government's multi-billion dollars-a-year research enterprise. In 2002, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requested to join SEA as an associate member. The request was granted by the SEA Board of Directors, which brought SEA's total membership to six.
According to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF)/Science Resources Statistics (SRS) Survey of Federal Support to Universities, Colleges and Nonprofits, from 1990 – 2009, the four SEA institutions totaled over $1.01 Billion in combined federal support.
After leading SEA for nearly a quarter of a century and the organization exceeding its mission, Shepard and the Board of Directors dissolved SEA in 2013. In that same year, Shepard formed The Shepard Institute (TSI), LLC as the vehicle to continue his push for the inclusion of faculty and students from HBCUs in the federal government's research enterprise. In 2020, the NSF contracted with TSI, requesting that Shepard facilitate a virtual workshop for faculty and students at HBCUs to participate in NSF's long-term research initiative called the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). In 2022, after reading Shepard's autobiography, a Professor in the School of Business at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) in Shawnee, OK selected Shepard to mentor two of his Black student-athletes as part of the Professor's Virtual Micro Internship Program.
Today Shepard spends time mentoring and writing. In 2013, he published his first book which was his autobiography titled, “Fulfilling My Destiny, Step By Step.” Chapter 17 titled, "The Birth of SEA - for HBCUs," describes the development, structure, and workings of the organization on behalf of HBCUs. One reader wrote: "Dr. Shepard’s autobiography is a tool box from which people can draw, regardless of race or ethnicity, learning that with faith and belief there are no barriers that cannot be overcome." In 2016 Howard University invited Shepard to join its list of TEDx Talk presenters.
Frequent questions about his life experiences led Shepard to write his second book in 2017 titled, "Fulfilling YOUR Destiny, Step by Step: A Self-Help Guide." The Guide is a companion to his autobiography. The book contains thought-provoking questions that are intended to put users on a path that will help them avoid one of life’s great tragedies, i.e., hopes and dreams left unfulfilled.
Shepard's motto is, ”It’s more productive to focus on your capabilities than on your limitations.”
In addition to the U.S., Shepard has traveled internationally to engage in research collaborations and present his work in Scotland, England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, China, and Africa. He serves on several advisory boards, was a member of various societies and organizations, a past Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer and has received numerous awards and honors including the 21st Century Trailblazer Award from the City Council of Jackson Mississippi. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
Dr. Shepard is in the early stages of formulating his thoughts for a third book in his "Fulfilling My Destiny" series.
1973, Ph.D., Physical Organic Chemistry, Howard University
1971, M.S., Physical Organic Chemistry, Howard University
1969, B.S., Chemistry, Saint Augustine’s College (now University)
2013 – present: Principal, The Shepard Institute (TSI), LLC
1990 – 2013: Founding Executive Director/CEO, Science and Engineering Alliance, Inc. (Known as SEA)
1988 – 1990: Technical Assistant to Director, Office of Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1984 – 1988: Visiting Scientist, Department of Chemistry, Howard University
1982 – 1988: Science Consultant to African Organizations, United Nations Development Program
1980 – 1984: Lead Scientist, Safeguards Program, Office of Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1975 – 1980: Senior Scientist, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards,U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
1973 – 1975: Head, X-ray Diffraction and Atomic Absorption Laboratory, Hoechst Celanese Corporation
1971 – 1972: Research Assistant, Analytical Chemistry Division, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
2023: Virtual Presenter, Building Defense Research Capacity at HBCUs, TCUs, HSIs and ANNHSIs: Town Hall on Facilitating True Partnerships, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Albuquerque, NM
2022 – Present: Member, Council of Advisors to the President of Saint Augustine's University, Raleigh, NC
2022: Virtual Mentor, Of two young Black scholar-athletes as part of School of Business' Micro-Internship Program, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), Shawnee, OK
2021: Virtual Presenter, Historical Black Colleges and Universities: Myths & Misunderstandings - A 2-part presentation presented to community members wanting to know more about the history of HBCUs, Senior Center, Rockville, MD
2020: Facilitator, Of A Virtual Workshop Using National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Data as a Means for HBCU Faculty and Students to Engage in the NEON Research Program, National Science Foundation (NSF)
2016: TEDx Talk, What Made the Difference, Inspiration for those reeling from setbacks, Howard University
2012 – 2020: External Advisory Board Member, Center for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, a National Science
Foundation (NSF) Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST), Prairie View A&M University
2009 – 2012: Advisory Board Member, Center for STEM Education and Research (CSER), Texas Southern University
2008 – 2012: Planning Committee, Nuclear Education Program, Alabama A&M University
2004 – 2010: Member, Leadership Network Blue Ribbon Workforce Panel, Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST)
2004 – 2009: Advisory Board Member, University Research Center, Texas Southern University
2004 – 2006: Distinguished Lecturer, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
2001 – 2005: External Advisory Committee Board Member, Mississippi Functional Genomics Network, University of Southern
2000 – 2005: Advisory Board Member, President’s Strategic Planning Committee for 10-Year Vision for Jackson State University
2000 – 2004: Advisory Board Member, Environmental Technology and Waste Management Consortium, Howard University (Chair, 2004)
1999 – 2007: External Advisory Board Member, Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI), Jackson State University
1995 – 1998: Member, Board of Directors, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
Shepard, R.L., Robinson, L and Tsegaye, T. (2007). Science and Engineering Alliance Phosphorus Observational Network (SEAPON): Evaluating the Long Term Impact of Land Use/Cover and Climate Change on Phosphorous Dynamics. Submitted to National Science Foundation in response to National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) RFI.
Shepard, R.L. and Johnson, D. (2007). NEON Partners with the Science and Engineering Alliance, BioScience, v. 57, p. 635-636.
Shepard, R.L. and Johnson, D. (2007). The First Wave of NEON Founding Members, BioScience, v. 57, p. 636.
Shepard, R.L. (1995). Science and Engineering Alliance (SEA): A Model for Advancement of the U.S. Science and Technology Workforce, NTA Journal, 69 2:32.
Shepard, R.L., Morris, J.B., Ayorinde, F.O., Afolabi, A.O., Oke, O.L. and Ologunde, M.O. (1994). Amino Acid Composition of 15 Amaranthus Species from Tropical Agriculture, Amaranth Newsletter, 4:12.
Shepard, R.L. (1993). The Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Tomorrow's World, NOBCChE News, 14, 2:8.
Ologunde, M.O., Ayorinde, F.O., Shepard, R.L., Afolabi, A.O. and Oke, O.L. (1992). The Sterols of the Seed Oils of Vernomia galamensis and Amaranthus Species. J. Fd Sci. Agri. 58:221.
Ologunde M.O., Ayorinde F.O., Shepard, R.L., Afolabi O.A. and Oke O.L. (1992). Chemical Evaluation of Exotic Grain Amaranth Seeds Planted in the Humid Lowlands of West Africa. J. of Tropical Agri., 69 (2):105.
Ologunde, M.O., Akinyemiju, O.A., Ayorinde, F.O., Afolabi, A.O., Shepard, R.L. and Oke, O.L. (1991). A Bioavailability to Rats of Iron from Fortified Grain Amaranth Flour, J. Fd. Sci. Tech, 26:493.
Ologunde, M.O., Ayorinde, F.O., Shepard, R.L. (1990). Chemical Evaluation of Defatted Vernomia galamensis Meal. J. of American Oil Chemist Soc. 67. 92-95.
Shepard, R.L. (1989). Amaranth Grain As a Food Source, Howard Press: New Directions Magazine, 16:1, 22-27.
Shepard, R.L., Ologunde, M.O., Taylor, B., Afolabi, O.A., Ayorinde, F.O., and Oke, O.L. (1988). Chemical Evaluation of Dark Seed Grain Amaranth Growing in Nigeria. J. of Fd and Agri., 2:146.
Shepard, R.L. (1987). Identifying Minority Scientists, Report to the National Science Foundation's Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE), Washington, D.C.
Shepard, R.L. (1983). International Trends in the Development of Biomass as an Alternate Energy Source, CR-01-83, African Regional Center for Technology, Dakar, Senegal.
Shepard, R.L. (1976). Bias Corrections in the Measurement of Nuclear Materials, Division of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS), Internal Publication, U.S. NRC, Washington, D.C.
Shepard, R.L. (2017), Fulfilling YOUR Destiny, Step by Step – A Self-Help Guide -, Published by The Shepard Institute.
Shepard, R.L. (2013), Fulfilling MY Destiny, Step by Step – An Autobiography -, AuthorHouse Publishing.
Food Science Lecture Note Series V: Toxic Constituents of Food. Monograph, Editors-in-Chief: Adeyemi, I. A., Ologunde, M. O., and Shepard, R. L., (2005) Publisher: Scoripo Educational Achievement Services (SEAS) Publishers, Lagos, Abuja, ISBN: 978-978-48298-0-9.
Collaborators and Other Affiliations (1990 – 2020)
Victor McCrary, National Science Board
Tony Beasley, National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc. (NEON)
Willie May, Morgan State University and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Tony Baylis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
Mark Shaffer, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF)
Richard, O’Grady, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
William McKinney, W.K Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America (ESA)
Dwayne Ashley, Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)
William Smith, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA)
Brian D. Kloeppel, Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS)
Extensive list of university collaborators
Volunteer Services provided to various individuals and organizations through Mt. Calvary Baptist
Church, Rockville, MD and Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC