The National Science Foundation has awarded $3.175 million to Drexel University for a regional program that aims to increase the number of minority STEM majors, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia), the lead appropriator for the NSF, announced the grant late last month.
Drexel is the lead university on the 20-year-old program, called the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, also known as Philadelphia AMP. Other participating schools include Temple University, the University of Delaware, Lincoln University and Community College of Philadelphia. Philadelphia AMP is one of many regional, National Science Foundation-funded AMP programs to increase the number of minority STEM majors, said Philadelphia AMP regional director Veniece Keene. The program defines “minority” as African American, Hispanic and Native American.
The program is about giving minority students the support they need to succeed, Keene said.
“We don’t believe that only certain people can be successful,” she said.
The grant money will be distributed throughout each of the nine participating schools, which use it to offer programs like mentoring, tutoring, technical training and career training, Keene said. They also work to get students involved in research, both stateside and international.
As of August 2013, Philadelphia AMP has helped more than 10,200 students get undergraduate degrees, more than 2,400 students get master’s degrees and more than 340 get Ph.Ds in STEM fields, she said. The program serves about 2,000 students each year.
The program has received $27 million in NSF funding to date, Keene said.
For the past 12 years, local schools like Drexel and Temple have also received NSF funding to pay for the first two years of graduate school for 12 minority students. Each year since 2002, one school has received $987,000 for the “Bridge to the Doctorate” program. Drexel has received the grant three separate times in the last 12 years, Keene said.
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