UMBC has been awarded $1 million in grants from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support students with financial need who intend to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The Foundation lauded UMBC’s demonstrated record of advancing the success of underrepresented students in STEM. UMBC is the country’s #1 producer of Black undergraduates who go on to earn doctorates in the life sciences and math and computer sciences combined, and also the nation’s leading producer of Black undergraduates who go on to earn the combined M.D.-Ph.D. (physician scientists).
UMBC has one of the country’s most diverse undergraduate communities, with more than 60 percent of its students being from minority groups. UMBC has been at the forefront of efforts to increase diversity and student success in STEM, particularly through the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, which supports undergraduate students of all backgrounds who plan to pursue doctoral study in the sciences or engineering and who are interested in the advancement of minorities in those fields. The program has served as a national model that has been replicated by several other institutions.
“The Meyerhoff Scholars Program is one example of how UMBC has long worked to redefine excellence in higher education,” says UMBC President Valerie Sheares Ashby. “We are deeply grateful for the partnership of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and its support in the form of this new grant, which will allow us to touch even more lives and advance inclusive excellence in the State of Maryland and beyond.”
UMBC is one of only two research universities to receive the grants this year—the University of California, Merced is the other.
“UC Merced and UMBC are models for our nation. Both schools have resolved to ensure that all students—especially students from underrepresented backgrounds—are set up to succeed from day one in rigorous STEM classes,” says Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “In advancement of our mission to help exceptional students reach their fullest potential, we are honored to support the work of these important institutions.”
At each university, the grants will provide $500,000 in current-use funding—to support over the next two academic years incoming and current students with financial need who intend to pursue STEM degrees—and $500,000 in endowed scholarship support for STEM undergraduates with financial need.
These grants are part of a $7 million commitment from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to support underrepresented student success in STEM fields. To date, the Foundation has granted $1 million to each of the following: Alabama A&M University (2021), Florida A&M University (2021), Morgan State University (2022), Norfolk State University (2021), and North Carolina A&T State University (2021).