University of Massachusetts’ New Fellows Program Aims to Boost Diversity in Its Graduate School

The Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has announced that it is establishing the Spaulding-Smith STEM Fellowship Program in an effort to recruit, retain, and graduate students from underrepresented groups.

The new program is named for Major Franklin Spaulding, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the university and to complete a doctoral program in agronomy and Elizabeth Hight Smith, who in 1905, was the first woman to earn a graduate degree at the University of Massachusetts.

Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the Spaulding-Smith STEM Fellowship Program will annually provide approximately 20 new graduate students with two full years of financial support while also offering an array of extracurricular programming to foster academic excellence, professional growth and social cohesion. In addition to receiving a full-tuition scholarship and year-round stipend throughout their award terms, Spaulding-Smith Fellows will participate in a multi-layered mentoring program, receive funding to present their work at academic conferences, attend professional development workshops and interact with prominent visiting scholars.

The Spaulding-Smith Fellowships will be awarded to top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) applicants seeking admission to the university’s doctoral programs. Applicants will be nominated for the fellowship by graduate program directors in the Colleges of Natural Sciences, Engineering, and Information and Computer Sciences, as well as the School of Public Health and Health Sciences.

The program will be under the direction of Funmi Adebayo, assistant dean for inclusion and engagement in the Graduate School. “I greatly look forward to implementing the many exciting components of the Spaulding-Smith Fellowship Program in the service of our talented STEM students from diverse backgrounds,” said Adebayo. “I am confident that it will help our fellows thrive as they pursue their academic and professional goals.”

Dr. Adebayo is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Cornell University.

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