Black women in STEM just got a whole lot stronger after the country’s number one all-female HBCU just signed on to establish an entire center dedicated to the ever-growing industry.
Spelman College announced on Monday the creation of the Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM. The new center will be funded through a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense, HBCUBuzz reports. The new center is a first of it’s kind for the school and will be affiliated with the Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration. According to reports, the new center will serve as a central hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities at 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.”
The school says the number of students pursuing careers in STEM has only grown over the past three academic years. In 2017, 26 percent of Spelman students received degrees in STEM compared to 16 percent of students at other HBCUs and 17 percent at other liberal arts colleges, Black America Web reports.
The new center is expected to offer three main access points for students and faculty, including research support, academic enrichment and professional development through mentorship opportunities, the outlet adds.
“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.