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.

Morgan State University, the historically Black educational institution in Baltimore, received a five-year, $9 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to conduct research on building diverse knowledge bases related to artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially with respect to cybersecurity. Researchers will study the development of formal standards and best practices to test and design new artificial intelligence and machine learning innovations that mitigate algorithmic bias. Kofi Nyarko, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Morgan State and a co-principal investigator of the grant project, said that the goal is “to provide educational and experiential learning opportunities for a diverse set of students at all levels, which will facilitate the increase of STEM graduates, who will eventually provide critical contributions to the nation’s strategic challenges.”

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the historically Black educational institution in Princess Anne, is the recipient of a five-year, $2,500,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create a new program called STEM STARS (Students Achieving Results in Science), which will be a living-learning, cohort model where students immerse themselves into the university’s culture and activities that support collegiate goals.

Historically Black Virginia State University has been awarded a $1,140,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study soybean genetics. Researchers will study the nutritional value of soybeans and edamame to identify the genes responsible for key nutritional traits.

Elizabeth City State University, a historically Black educational institution in North Carolina, received a three-year grant totaling $576,333 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to fund the new Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Education and Training Program at the institution, which will include the establishment of a regional aerospace high-volume manufacturing educational and training hub at the university. The funds will provide students with opportunities to engage in designing and building drones and advanced air mobility vehicle parts using high-volume manufacturing practices.

Historically Black Texas Southern University in Houston has been awarded a nearly $600,000 grant from Houston nonprofit Arnold Ventures to study prosecutor diversions and provide greater awareness and insights into the decisions made every day by prosecutors across the United States. Arnold Ventures is specifically focused on how prosecutors can use their discretion to promote racial equity, transparency, and data-driven decision-making, use punitive measures sparingly, and prioritize a holistic approach to community safety.


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