Illinois I-mark

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sloan grant to support minority Ph.D. fellows in STEM fields

The University of Illinois Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering will participate in a new campus initiative that aims to increase the number of applications, offers and enrollments of underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields.

The university learned this week it was awarded a three-year, $3 million grant from the Sloan Foundation to create a Center of Exemplary Mentoring, a campuswide center that will provide scholarships to minority doctoral students in physical and mathematical sciences and engineering.

“The Sloan partnership will help us leverage the numerous existing resources the U. of I. devotes to supporting minority doctoral students,” said Sarah Lubienski, interim dean of the Graduate College in a release announcing the news. “We also will draw from the expertise within our departments on campus, as well as in the Sloan network of member institutions.”

The campus will run a pilot project this year and utilize the Sloan funds to recruit students for fall 2016 and fall 2017 classes, according to Lubienski.

The new center will coordinate efforts to help Sloan fellowship students succeed in their graduate studies and careers. Those activities will include an extensive orientation program for new fellows, research opportunities, workshops and seminars, professional development, scholarships and competitive stipends, and a three-tiered mentoring program that provides peer, academic and research mentors to students.

Twelve departments from the College of Engineering and six departments from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, including chemical and biomolecular engineering, math and chemistry, will be involved.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City.