UNCF/Merck science initiative awards scholarships and fellowships to African Americans in Biosciences
The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative (UMSI)--a partnership between UNCF (the United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization, and Merck, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well, today announced that it would award scholarships and fellowships to 37 African American students in the biological and chemical sciences. The announcement was made at the 2010 UNCF/Merck Fellows Day in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
UMSI is a fifteen-year partnership that has supported 554 promising undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral science students. UNCF/Merck recipients have gone on to pursue careers in a wide range of disciplines, from biochemistry and microbiology to pharmacology, neuroscience, biophysics, chemistry and bioengineering. The UNCF/Merck scholarships and fellowships provide the future scientists with financial support, hands-on training, close mentoring and networking relationships, and institutional support. Recipients are chosen through a competitive application process that selects candidates based on their academic achievements and potential in the field of biomedical research.
'Merck's investment in these young scientists is an investment in longer and better lives for millions of people here in the U.S. and around the world,' said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF president and CEO. 'America needs to build a diverse pipeline of highly educated minority students, especially in the sciences in order to develop the next generation of researchers, professors, and teachers.'
Continued American leadership in the development of life-saving pharmaceuticals depends on a diverse pipeline of students in the biological and chemical sciences. But according to the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST), in 2006, African Americans represented just 2.2 percent of doctoral degree recipients in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative represents a substantial continuing increase in the number of African Americans in the STEM fields. After fifteen years, moreover, the UNCF/Merck program also serves as a proven model for development of new generations of the scientists and engineers the global economy needs.
Merck awarded UNCF a 10-year $20 million grant in 1995. The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, supported by the Merck Institute for Science Education and Merck Research Laboratories, was renewed in 2006 to provide more than $13 million in additional funding through 2010.
'As a company dedicated to helping people around the world be well through our innovations, Merck knows that in order to deliver on this mission, we must foster a culture of inclusion and diversity not only within our company, but in the larger medical and scientific community as well,' said Richard T. Clark, chairman and CEO, Merck.
'Merck is proud of the partnership with UNCF and the continued progress in reducing disparities among minority representation within scientific research,' said Peter S. Kim, president, Merck Research Laboratories. 'We believe diversity among future leaders in science and biomedical research is essential to advancing innovation.'
The 2010 UNCF/Merck Fellows receive awards ranging from $25,000 for undergraduate scholarship recipients to $85,000 for recipients of postdoctoral fellowships. In addition, the program's alumni have organized the Association of UNCF/Merck Fellows to facilitate continued professional growth. This network allows UNCF/Merck Fellows to collaborate in academia, government and the private sector to leverage their wealth of scientific, technical and biomedical knowledge and experience.
'The UNCF Merck Science Initiative has provided numerous benefits,' said Donnie Eddins, Ph.D., a Merck scientist and three-time UNCF/Merck Fellow, 'but the most significant has been the interaction with my Merck mentors. Through these invaluable networking opportunities, I was able to identify a field of study as well as a graduate adviser. One of my mentors even served on my dissertation committee. The powerful support network was very instrumental in shaping my career, influencing my decision to become a part of the Merck research team.'
Support from the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative scholarships targets students entering their final undergraduate year, graduate students in their final two-to-three years of dissertation research, and postdoctoral Fellows continuing their research training. African American students of life and physical sciences at American four-year colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the scholarship. In addition to scholarships and fellowships, the UNCF/Merck awards include funding for the science departments at the colleges and universities they attend. Undergraduate Fellows receive summer research internships at Merck Research Laboratories, where each Fellow is paired with a Merck mentor who provides valuable research assistance, guidance and support. To learn more about the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, visit http://umsi.uncf.org/.
UNCF--the United Negro College Fun--is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students' education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 39 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 18 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste.'® Learn more at www.UNCF.org.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Merck. Be well. For more information, visit www.merck.com.
About Merck Institute for Science Education
The Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) is a non-profit organization established by Merck in 1993 to improve science education in public schools and raise the levels of science performance for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Now expanded to include college and graduate-level education, MISE works to build capacity in the biomedical sciences through partnerships with education institutions. For more information, visit www.mise.org.
2010 UNCF/MERCK SCIENCE INITIATIVE FELLOWS
Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards (up to $25,000 each)
- Sherman Coleman, Dillard University (New Orleans, LA)
- Xochina El Hilali, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Dannielle Foster, Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)
- Leopold Green, Hampton University (Hampton, VA)
- Alexandra Herndon, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
- Janae Hunter, Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL)
- Itisha Jefferson, Spelman College (Atlanta, GA)
- Steve Morgan, Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)
- Michelle Munyikwa, College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA)
- Oluwadamilola Oladeru, Yale University (New Haven, CT)
- Daniel Salahuddin, Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, FL)
- Candice Sherwood, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA)
- Ashley Spann, Samford University (Birmingham, AL)
- MaKendra Umstead, North Carolina Central University (Durham, NC)
- Rama Yakubu, Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY)
Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowships (up to $52,000 each)
- Akwasi Apori, University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
- Anoklase Ayitou, North Dakota State University--Fargo (Fargo, ND)
- Azurii Collier, Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
- Denise Cornelius, University Of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson, MS)
- Deirdre Davis, University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA)
- Dannielle Figueroa, Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
- Qyana Griffith, Boston University (Boston, MA)
- Jacqueline Jones, Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, AL)
- Jennifer McLarty, University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC)
- Adebola Ogunniyi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
- Alex Stewart, Yeshiva University (Bronx, NY)
- Olusegun Williams, University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Postdoctoral Science research Fellows (up to $85,000 each)
- Norman Atkins, Ph.D., Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)
- Dawn Delfin, Ph.D., The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
- Mary Farrow, Ph.D., Harvard University (Pasadena, CA)
- Stacey Finley, Ph.D., John Hopkins (Baltimore, MD)
- Regina Campbell-Malone Ph.D., Brown University (Providence, RI)
- Winnette Mcintosh Ambrose, Ph.D., National Institute of Health (Bethesda, MD)
- Toby Nelson, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
- C Brandon Ogbunugafor, M.D./Ph.D., Yale University (New Haven, CT)
- Chelsea Pinnix, M.D./Ph.D., The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX)
- Tanya Russell, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver (Aurora, CO)