Press Release

August 31, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has been awarded $987,000 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to recruit and prepare minority students at the graduate level for careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

“Science and technology are the keys to winning the future and moving America’s economy forward into the 21st century,” said Senator Cardin. “As a hub of research and development, Maryland has the capacity to kickstart our economy, but we need bright and diverse minds in order to do so. This funding will help minority students interested in science and technology follow their dreams, find good jobs and spur our economic recovery.”

“Education is the opportunity ladder of this nation and higher education is a critical rung in that ladder,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, which funds the NSF. “STEM graduates are in demand to fill the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow. Every student, regardless of race, deserves a chance to excel in those fields. Maryland has the resources and the infrastructure to guarantee any graduate student a rich experience, not to mention job prospects. I applaud Dr. Hrabowski for pursuing this important source of funding, ensuring that Maryland stays competitive in graduate education – and the global economy.”

The NSF grant will fund a new cohort of UMBC’s Bridge to the Doctorate fellows program, which is dedicated to recruiting, retaining, educating, and training underrepresented students in STEM fields at the graduate level, and preparing them for success in the STEM workforce. UMBC is the lead institution of the University System of Maryland Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, along with University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

“We are delighted to receive this grant as we continue to focus on producing scientists from diverse backgrounds,” said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. “These funds are very important as we provide students with the necessary support to excel in their graduate studies.”

The Bridge to the Doctorate fellows program at UMBC will fund 12 students for two years. Each will receive a stipend of $30,000 per year, and an additional $10,500 per year toward the cost of education. The program also includes training and networking opportunities, helps student develop close connections with STEM faculty and other students, and provides mentorship opportunities to its participants.

Dr. Hrabowski recently completed work for the National Academies as Chair of their Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline. Under Dr. Hrawbowski’s leadership, the committee drafted a report titled “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads,” which provided an in depth view examination of the need to recruit and maintain minorities in the STEM fields.

The grant is awarded an initiative of the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, a national program with 570 participating institutions of higher learning and more than 28,000 minority graduates in 2010. As Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, Senator Mikulski puts money in the federal checkbook for the National Science Foundation each year.