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.

Shaw University, the historically Black educational institution in Raleigh, North Carolina, received a $1 million gift from the family of the late Bishop James A. Forbes Sr. The gift was presented by his son James A. Forbes Jr. the senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church in New York City. David A. Forbes, Bishop Forbes brother, founded the Student Non-Violent  Coordinating Committee at Shaw University in 1960. He later was dean of the Shaw University Divinity School and served on the university’s board of trustees.

Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, received a $5 million gift from Daniel and Heidi Hanson to support programs to tackle the lack of inclusion of women and members or underrepresented groups within the scientific disciplines. “We know very well that both conversations in STEM classrooms and processes and products of STEM are better when there’s a more diverse team developing them,” Jenn Stroud Rossman, professor of mechanical engineering, said. “Everyone who wants to do [STEM] ought to be able to succeed in this environment, because of this environment, and not in spite of the environment.”

Historically Black North Carolina Central University in Durham received a four-year, $1.48 million grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences to study new means of treating high cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

The College of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University received a five-year, $718,519 award from the National Institutes of Health to launch a program positioned to address both the health disparities experienced by underrepresented populations and the lower numbers of racial and ethnic minorities earning advanced degrees in health-related fields. The program “Improving Access through Research and Training” (IMPACT) will pair faculty and students whose academic and research interests align, with the overall goal of ensuring the mentees are adequately prepared to pursue advanced degrees in their chosen disciplines.

Elizabeth City State University, a historically Black educational institution in North Carolina, received a grant from the Well Fargo Foundation to help business on the island of Ocracoke, that were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in September. The university’s Office of the Small Business and Technology Development Center will aid businesses on the island recover from the storm.

The University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington will share a $2.8 million grant from the National Library of Medicine to launch UnBIASED, a project to study hidden biases in healthcare and develop methods to help rectify them. The researchers will use social signal processing (SSP) technology to assess hidden biases during medical appointments. SSP analyzes video and audio to make sense of social interactions, such as body language, how long providers and patients talk, how much they interrupt, whether providers are looking at their patients and other clues that could potentially indicate bias.

Historically Black Tuskegee University and historically Black Virginia State University are participating in a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Through a collaboration with Bell Helicopter, university researchers and students will identify critical helicopter parts and develop a complete business case for the use of 3D printing in the manufacturing of these parts. They will analyze current manufacturing and supply chain practices and develop executable 3D manufacturing plans for both helicopter and drone applications.

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