Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology have received a $1.2 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health to fund a summer program aimed to increase the diversity of biomedical scientists engaged in genetic and genomic research. The SURE-GM program is tailored to undergraduate students at historically Black colleges and universities in Alabama. Each year, 12 rising juniors at HBCUs will be recruited into the two-year summer program. They will spend the first summer at HudsonAlpha to engage in training for foundational research skills and the second summer at the university to conduct mentored research. The first cohort will begin in the summer of 2019.

The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia and Hunter College of the City University of New York have been named joint recipients of a $13.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help create an entity to study cancer health disparities in minority communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The partnership between the two institutions will focus on multidisciplinary cancer research, training and mentoring minority junior faculty, students, and post-doctoral researchers, and educating and engaging the community.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has received a $2.2 million gift from the Windgate Foundation to establish the Windgate Foundation Scholarship Endowment and fund the John Miller Howard Art and Education Legacy Exhibition at the Leedell Morehead-Graham Fine Arts Gallery at the historically Black university’s Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center. The scholarship will provide funding each year to assist eligible students with education-related expenses.

Historically Black Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina has received a $593,905 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue support for the MARC USTAR Training Program. The program is designed to affect the challenges faced by students working toward a doctoral degree, especially in the field of biomedical sciences. The grant will allow a minimum of 12 students to conduct research with a faculty mentor, participate in journal clubs, attend seminars, present their research at national meetings, publish papers, and conduct research at a major research institute for 12 weeks in the summer. Additionally, participating students will attend workshops to help them with preparation for the Graduate Record Examination and graduate school admission events.

Historically Black Prairie View A&M University in Texas has received a $499,964 grant from the National Science Foundation for the university’s Improve Network on Campus for Research and Education in Agriculture, Science, and Engineering (INCREASE) project. The project was developed to upgrade the cyber infrastructure system used to house and share data amongst researchers around the campus. By improving the network, the university hopes to increase the rate at which research data is provided.

Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, has been awarded a grant from the Modern Language Association for a professor to develop an English course based on the spirit, literature, and activities of Cleveland’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the only juried prize in the nation for books that confront racism and celebrate diversity. In the new course, which will be taught in the fall of 2019, students will read Anisfield-Wolf-recognized books, meet the authors who come to Cleveland for the annual awards ceremony, and enliven and contemporize the works through the digital humanities. This will involve using digital mapping platforms to analyze and contextualize the literature and creating a digital exhibit that will be available to the public.

Historically Black Alabama State University has received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to support three years of research on lightweight multi-functional advanced materials. The project aims to develop materials to use for the next generation of U.S. Air Force systems and for advanced aircraft. The grant will also provide scholarships for up to four students who will be involved with the research project.

Historically Black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania has received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance its teaching, pedagogy, and humanities programs. The grant will allow the university to offer summer faculty institutes where faculty members can dedicate an entire summer to research and academic writing for scholarly publications. Participating faculty will also have the option of hiring an undergraduate research assistant. Additional funds will be used to create two pedagogy workshops as well as various curriculum development workshops.

Wayne State University in Detroit has received a $750,000 grant from Google for its SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Detroit program. The three-year program aims to eliminate barriers and empower minority youth in Detroit through culturally relevant STEM courses and access to resources that will encourage them to pursue a successful career in technology and entrepreneurship. Additionally, the program supports participants after they complete the program by helping them land internships and prepare for college. Google has established SMASH programs in various cities throughout the country. The program has a 100 percent high school graduation rate and a 91 percent college graduation rate.

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