Local professor's success story making history

By Caroline Goggin

August 28, 2014 Updated Aug 29, 2014 at 9:52 AM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) By recording, preserving and sharing the stories of thousands of African Americans, the History Makers hope to educate and enlighten millions worldwide.

They believe that whatever we are, we are storytellers.

One of those storytellers has made a big impact in our area.

Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering at Cornell Michael Spencer fell in love with science from the time he was in junior high.

His love for engineering has been documented by the History Makers organization.

History Makers is a non-profit working to archive the lives of successful African Americans in the United States.

These archives are now making it to the Library of Congress.

"I think the beauty of this project that Julieanna Richardson has done is it has made it easy to find out who has done what," said Spencer.

Spencer has done much in his time.

He returned to his alma mater Cornell in 1999 as a professor of electrical engineering.

He then served as associate dean of research and graduate studies from 2002 to 2008.

In addition, he co-founded the Ithaca-based company Widetronix.

"We found out that for a small company point of view, the better thing to do instead of selling the material was to make a device," said Spencer. "Batteries, nuclear batteries... made from silicon carbide would make the best nuclear batteries."

So, the company took a starting idea and ran with it.

Widetronix has been widely successful.

After years of tremendous success in the field, Spencer suggests that his biggest triumphs come from another source.

"To be able to be a part of the eco-structure of knowledge and advancing of knowledge not only here, but around the world," added the professor.

As for his biggest failure, Spencer said he has had many, but by failing, he has discovered his truest successes.

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