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$1.7M NSF Grant Will Support Career Development for the Underrepresented

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Stony Brook University’s Center for Inclusive Education is leading an alliance between SBU, Farmingdale State College, and Suffolk County Community College to provide career development for historically underrepresented minority (URM) doctoral degree students in STEM. The program, funded by a $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to successfully transition such students into faculty positions at predominantly undergraduate institutions.

The program involves developing, implementing, studying, institutionalizing, evaluating and disseminating an educational and training model to achieve this goal.

AGEP group
Academic leaders of the NSF-funded AGEP career development program include faculty from Stony Brook University (SBU), Farmingdale State College (FSC) and Suffolk County Community College (SCCC). From left: Candice Foley (SCCC), Ken White (Brookhaven National Laboratory), Karian Wright (SBU), David Ferguson (SBU), Julianna Pryor (SBU), Erwin Cabrerra (FSC), Toni Sperzel (SBU), and Erica Lobello (FSC).

The NSF funding for the career development program is made possible by its Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) and will be distributed over the course of five years ending late in 2023. The program supports current doctoral students at Stony Brook University who have a career goal to become tenured faculty. The support begins with training and mentorship during their doctoral program and continues after graduation and during the first three years of their faculty appointment.

Universities and colleges struggle to recruit, retain, and promote URM STEM faculty who serve as role models and academic leaders for URM students to learn from, work with, and emulate. The AGEP has the potential to advance a model to improve the success of URM early career STEM faculty in predominantly undergraduate institutions, which ultimately leads to improved academic mentorship for URM undergraduate students in STEM at community college, two-year academic institutions, and other undergraduate institutions.

“This AGEP initiative is set up for success because of the range of faculty expertise involved from multiple institutions and the talented pool of doctoral students who need support and mentoring as they launch their academic careers,” said David L. Ferguson, PhD, Project Director and Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Technology and Society at Stony Brook University.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a sub-recipient of the NSF grant. BNL will provide opportunities for program participants to increase competitiveness by employing the use of DOE facilities in their research and developing collaborations between predominantly undergraduate institutions faculty and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. The Alliance is also working with an assessment team at the Center for Advanced Study of Education at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

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