Spelman College is establishing the Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM after receiving a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense.
The new center will be affiliated with the Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration and is a first of its kind, reportedly serving as a hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities for Spelman.
“The Center aligns with the College’s strategic priorities and ensures that our students are empowered and equipped to enter competitive STEM fields,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said, according to HBCUbuzz. “We are honored to be awarded this grant, and to have the support of the Department of Defense in assisting Spelman in fulfilling its mission to diversify STEM.”
Over the past three academic years, the amount of students pursuing STEM majors at Spelman has grown. In 2017, 26 percent of Spelman students earned degrees in STEM compared to just 16 percent and 17 percent at other HBCUs and liberal arts colleges respectively.
The Center of Excellence for Minority Women will reportedly offer three main access points for students and faculty, including research support, academic enrichment and professional development through mentorship opportunities.
The Center will also encourage research collaborations between faculty, students and Department of Defense personnel, which will hopefully increase the capacity of faculty to do research.
“Our overall goal is to increase the skills of our students and resources for our faculty,” says Dr. Tasha Inniss, an associate provost for research.
Undergraduate research and training programs at Spelman College have been supported over the NSF, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Security Agency and the Department of Education over the last 30 years.