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.

Mount Holyoke College, the women’s college in South Hadley, Massachusetts, received a $499,437 National Science Foundation grant to produce virtual field experiences for underserved students. The grant is under the director of Angelica Patterson, curator of education and outreach at Miller Worley Center for the Environment at Mount Holyoke. With the grant, Dr. Patterson will produce virtual field experiences of various ecosystems that will be used to create a library for faculty and help transform the method in which underserved and underrepresented college students across the country learn about earth science. Dr. Patterson received her bachelor’s degree in natural resources from Cornell University. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in plant ecophysiology from Columbia University.

A team of University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty, librarians, staff, and students and their partners at the Pioneer Valley History Network (PVHN) are among the partnering projects awarded $349,803 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of the project “Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade,” also known as Enslaved.org, which is an open-access website affiliated with Michigan State University that publishes datasets and biographical narratives with information about the lives of individuals who suffered under slavery and who were part of the transatlantic slave trade. The NEH award will allow the local project to expand and become accessible through the larger Enslaved.org portal.

Google donated $250,000 to Alabama A&M University to support science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics initiatives. The donation will impact several academic programs and student organizations to increase opportunities for AAMU students. “We are committed to leveraging this support to empower academic discovery and scholarships on our campus,” said Jamal Ali, vice president at Alabama A&M University. “We’re excited that this particular gift will support all facets of the student experience and bring much-needed funding to student groups who represent AAMU.”

The University of Vermont received a five-year, $2.5M Driving Change grant, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, that will jumpstart multiple initiatives for faculty, staff, and undergraduate students, all with the goal of creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all students. The grant will fund professional development opportunities to staff as well as faculty, programs identifying and removing institutional policies that create roadblocks for students, programming for all students “to help them all develop cultural competency, cultural humility and intergroup dialogue skills – the skills they need to be a more inclusive social culture”; and the creation of “Our Common Ground Leadership Development Program,” half of whose students will come from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

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