Washington Report: Updates from Capitol Hill

High court justice to retire; DOE invests in HBCUs

DOE Invests in Science and Technical Research at HBCUs

Nine historically black colleges and universities in South Carolina and Georgia have received nearly $9 million in grants from the Department of Energy to develop academic programs in science and technical research fields that will integrate coursework, DOE field work, and applied research., the White House announced earlier this week.

“This important partnership will provide the education and training opportunities students need to become the next generation of environmental scientists and engineers,” said Inés Triay, the DOE’s assistant secretary for environmental management, during the award presentation in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday.

Women and minorities are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. In a Bayer Corp. survey of minority chemists and chemical engineers, many said the reason for the lack of diversity is because they are discouraged from pursuing studies and careers in these fields. The survey found that inadequate science and math programs in low-income school districts (75%); stereotypes that say STEM isn’t for girls or minorities (66%); and the education costs (53%) are the top three contributors to the underrepresentation. In addition, respondents cited managerial bias (40%), company/organizational/institutional bias (38%),  little or no access to networking opportunities (35%), and a lack of promotional/advancement opportunities (35%).

The participating institutions will have “the extraordinary opportunity to use this federal investment to train the scientists, mathematicians and engineers who can step in to meet the growing demand for new diverse talent,” Said House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina).

The following HBCU institutions are receiving awards:

Allen University, Columbia, SC – $1,000,000
Benedict College, Columbia, SC – $ 1,180,944
Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC – $999,018
Clinton Junior College, Rock Hill, SC – $837,049
Denmark Technical College, Denmark, SC – $789,440
Morris College, Sumter, SC – $987,793
Paine College, Augusta, GA – $ 992,889
South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC- $ 1,197,987
Voorhees College, Denmark, SC – $982,387

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