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News | 2 min read

VCU receives $1 million grant to increase minority Ph.D. STEM students

July 11, 2022

Mychal Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the VCU Department of Chemistry, will oversee the grant, which will begin in the 2023-24 academic year. (Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

The funding is designed to guide students through the early years of a doctoral program when many drop out.

A new program at Virginia Commonwealth University is designed to increase the number of minority students who earn a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline.

The National Science Foundation awarded VCU a $1.08 million grant to fund the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate program. Named after the late congressman Louis Stokes, the national program is designed to give African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Native Pacific Islanders greater access to science, technology, engineering and math majors. According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanics are 17% of the workforce but only represent 8% of people in a STEM position. African Americans are 11% of the workforce but hold 9% of STEM jobs.

Mychal Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Humanities and Sciences; Joyce Lloyd, Ph.D., a professor and vice chair of education in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics in the School of Medicine; Gregory Triplett, Ph.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering; and Mike Grotewiel, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate education at the School of Medicine and an associate professor in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, were the recipients of the grant. Smith will oversee the project.

“Our main focus of the grant is to make sure students move through a graduate STEM program and complete their Ph.D.,” Smith said.

Read the full story here.