Fisk University has been selected to receive the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Master’s Degree Grant (Title VII) Award for $3 million from the United States Department of Education to assist Fisk graduate students in obtaining advanced degrees in the natural and physical sciences in disciplines in which African-Americans are underrepresented.
Grant funds will be dispersed over the next six years. $1.5 million will be used to provide full financial assistance for six Fisk graduate students to study biology, chemistry and physics. $500,000 will be used to initiate research projects of six current graduate students, purchase new laboratory instrumentation, and make minor renovations to labs and classrooms.
The remaining million will be used for academic support for graduate students and graduate faculty involved in research. Support initiatives include recruiting visiting professors with established research records and establishing the position of Title VII project coordinator to assist mentoring graduate students.
In the past five years, the Fisk/Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program has produced 22 minority graduates from underrepresented populations, 60 percent of whom are women, and has become the nation’s top producer of African-Americans earning master’s degrees in physics.
“We are excited to receive this most recent award that will help us to expand knowledge in ways that encourage teamwork and opportunities for our graduate students,” said Dr. Arnold Burger, professor of physics at Fisk University. Dr. Burger will also serve as the new grant project’s director.
To be eligible for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Master’s Degree Grant Award, institutions must substantially contribute to graduate education opportunities at the master’s level for underprivileged and underrepresented populations in the areas of natural sciences and information technology.
Fisk is one of 18 HBCUs to receive the award. In August, the Fisk/Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program was awarded $3.7 million which included two federal grants from the National Science Foundation and one federal grant from the Department of Education.