Southeast Awarded $8,275 Grant from DENSO for STEM Education


The Department of Engineering and Technology at Southeast Missouri State University has received a $8,275 one-year grant from the world’s second largest mobility supplier DENSO for programs focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The grant, which is made possible by the company’s philanthropic arm, DENSO North America Foundation (DNAF), is one of 26 grants awarded by DENSO in 2019 to colleges and universities throughout North America. The donations are part of DENSO’s broader efforts to cultivate tomorrow’s workforce and prepare young thinkers to lead a new era of innovation.

Grants were awarded to programs focused on design, materials management, mechanical and electrical engineering principles, thermodynamics, robotics and more.

The grant will support a project titled “Multi-Dimensional Record Enhancement Technique” led by Dr. Serkan Varol, assistant professor of engineering and technology at Southeast, and will perform quantitative data management and analysis to enhance data quality for the manufacturer of automotive components.

The project, based at DENSO’s location in Osceola, Arkansas, addresses a growing issue and one of the largest challenges enterprises face today – poor data quality, said Varol.

“Research from Experian data quality shows that poor data affects nearly 90 percent of businesses, with the average company losing 12 percent of its revenue as a direct result,” he said. “Today’s world is data driven and companies are looking for unique ways to ‘smartly’ process data to increase their efficiency.”

DNAF has supported STEM education through grants at colleges and universities since 2001, enabling students to access tools, technology and experiences that better prepare them for technical careers after graduation. DENSO education grant proposals are invite-only and evaluated based on technical merit, student experience and alignment with industry needs.

“Investing in tomorrow’s workforce is critical to ensuring we have individuals who are equipped to help DENSO fulfill its vision of creating software and products that enhance safety and reduce environmental impact,” said Bill Foy, senior vice president of Engineering at DENSO and a DENSO North American Foundation board member. “Through these grants, we hope to create a generation of innovators who inspire new value for the future of mobility.”

The grant will support a project to create a holistic data enhancement framework avoiding “dirty” data and providing quality information which can enhance DENSO’s business intelligence, decision-making and prediction/analytics capabilities.

With such a high rate of information produced each year in customer information for organizations like DENSO, the project will tackle two aspects of this issue.

“There is a dire need for a system that can correct mistyped information accurately and efficiently,” he said. “In addition to that, there is a need to employ a record linkage technique to bring together corresponding records from two or more files or to find duplicates within a database. This can be accomplished by a systematic framework which holistically tackles root causes of data quality issues and then uses customized probabilistic and deterministic techniques to link records together.”

The system created will have a positive effect on DENSO and its employees and customers.

“With proper data governance and compliance, DENSO can save thousands if not millions of dollars in the long run and increase their productivity,” Varol said.

The grant will also support hands-on experiences for Southeast students. As business – data operation analysts, the students will gain valuable knowledge in the data science field.

“Students will gain experience in collecting industry-related data, building metadata dictionaries, creating regular expression libraries, optimizing data cleaning techniques by using statistical approaches and linking similar records to minimize database cost,” said Varol.

The experiences his students gain as part of the project’s core competencies in the data science area, along with their other Southeast STEM experiences in and out of the classroom, provide them the necessary skills to get a job in a highly sought-after job field, Varol added.

“To cope with data quality problems, companies tend to hire data analysts who have a background in STEM fields due to adequate foundational skills, which our students at Southeast have,” he said. “Dealing with industrial data quality-related issues in which students experience both interactive and deterministic data cleaning methods adds unique values to their foundational skills and enhances students’ understanding of how industry data is gathered and handled. They’ll also get to learn important techniques and in-demand skillsets for today’s data driven world.”


DENSO is a $48.3 billion global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components for nearly every vehicle make and model on the road today. With manufacturing at its core, DENSO invests in its 221 facilities in 35 countries to produce thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification, & electronic systems, to create jobs that directly change how the world moves. The company’s more than 170,000 employees are paving the way to a mobility future that improves lives, eliminates traffic accidents, and preserves the environment. Globally headquartered in Kariya, Japan, DENSO spent 9.3 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. For more information about global DENSO, visit

In North America, DENSO employs more than 27,000 engineers, researchers and skilled workers across 31 sites in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 17,000 employees across 13 states and 25 sites. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, in fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, DENSO in North America generated $10.9 billion in consolidated sales. For more information, visit