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NC State Lands Grant to Boost Diversity in Science and Engineering

North Carolina State University has received a two-year, $987,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to encourage underrepresented minority students to enter graduate school in engineering, science and related fields.

The grant establishes the Bridge to the Doctorate Program at NC State and provides graduate-school fellowships for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields. The grant will fund fellowships for 12 students for two years. Each student will receive a $30,000 annual stipend, payment of tuition and fees, medical insurance and travel funds for professional development activities.

Minorities traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields include African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

“This grant helps us attract top graduate students and boosts the presence of underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines,” said Dr. Tony Mitchell, the program’s director who leads NC State’s Minority Engineering Programs and is assistant dean for student services in the College of Engineering.

The program is designed to help students make a smooth transition from master’s degree programs to doctoral programs. During their fellowships, students will have access to faculty mentoring, a six-week introduction to research techniques, transitional issues workshops, an online collaboration forum and summer research programs.

Fellows began receiving funding during the spring 2009 semester. The fellowships are not limited to minority students, but all recipients must be former participants in an undergraduate program connected to the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, an NSF program that seeks to boost the presence of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields.