In the News: National Science Foundation awards $2.4 million for program for minority women in STEM

Christa Martens

The National Science Foundation’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Program (AGEP) is a program and funding source committed to growing the numbers of underrepresented minorities who attend graduate school in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The AGEP program is especially committed to supporting diverse STEM faculty and other members of the academic community who serve as invaluable role models and shape the minds of future scientists and engineers.

One newly awarded AGEP is the Florida Alliance Model, which received $2.4 million dollars for their four-year proposal. The grant will fund academic programs in Florida, focused specifically on mentoring young, minority women in STEM. Beginning in the fall of 2020, the Florida Alliance Model will build and sustain research boot camps in three universities in Florida. These weeklong, intensive boot camps will be for doctoral, post-doctoral, and early-career minority women in STEM, and will focus on professional development and mentoring by other minority women in senior faculty roles in STEM fields. Additionally, the Florida Alliance Model will work with campus leadership to understand and address systemic institutional barriers that disproportionately affect minority women in STEM. The goal of the Florida Alliance Model is to create an educational model that can be replicated across the country.

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Dr. Allyson L. Watson, dean for the College of Education at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, is a co-author and former principal investigator of the AGEP Florida Alliance Model. Dr. Watson notes “…we want the universities across the state of Florida, but also across the nation, to know that in order to have an output of women of color in STEM fields, you have to have an input of measures of partnership and true strategy around building a scholarship platform.”

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