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Nearly $1 million NSF grant will support UT Arlington doctoral students

University of Texas at Arlington

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IMAGE: The University of Texas at Arlington has received nearly $1 million from the NSF for its Bridget to the Doctorate program. view more

Credit: UT Arlington

A dozen University of Texas at Arlington doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM fields, will receive free tuition and a $30,000 yearly stipend for two years thanks to a new National Science Foundation grant.

The $974,250 in funding for the Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships at UT Arlington comes from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at the NSF. Louis Stokes played a pivotal role in the quest for civil rights, equality and social and economic justice throughout his tenure in the U.S. Congress. UT Arlington has been a part of the UT System LSAMP since 1993, closely collaborating with the lead institution UT El Paso and other UT campuses toward the goal of increasing the quantity and quality of degree recipients in STEM fields, especially among women and minorities.

"At UT Arlington we are committed to educating the next generation of diverse STEM leaders, as well as future university professors who excel at teaching and research. This funding allows us to provide doctoral students a support system that takes care of their financial needs while they focus on pursuing their dreams and achieving excellence," said Ron Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The new LSAMP award at UT Arlington is the second Bridge to the Doctorate LSAMP grant that the university has received. The new project represents a collaborative effort among the UT Arlington's Division of Faculty Affairs, Office of Graduate Studies, Office of University Recruitment, as well as the Institute for Broadening Participation. The Institute for Broadening Participation is a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to facilitating the increased participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields and to attract and support promising Ph.D. students.

The new LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellows also will receive training from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, or CIRTL, at UT Arlington. CIRTL is a national network of universities committed to improving the teaching of STEM topics.

Administrators, faculty and staff in the UT Arlington College of Science and College of Engineering also have been instrumental in the success of the LSAMP program at the university.

Ashanti Johnson, assistant vice provost for faculty recruitment and principal investigator on the new grant, said the NSF support would help underrepresented minority students reach their goals.

"We feel confident that the dedication of UT Arlington faculty, staff and administrators and the national organizations with which we've teamed will result in our LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellows being counted among the next generation of leaders in STEM education," she said.

Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships also provide an allowance for textbooks and research supplies, research conference participation and support, and developmental workshops and activities, in addition to full tuition and fees and a $30,000 yearly stipend for two years. After the initial two years, the Fellows are supported by other funding mechanisms to ensure their timely graduation.

"Previous Bridge to the Doctorate funding allowed UT Arlington to build a multi-faceted program that helped doctoral students succeed in their academic studies and research, and become vibrant leaders," said Raymond L. Jackson, associate dean of the UT Arlington Office of Graduate Studies and a co-principal investigator on the new grant. "That experience, combined with lessons from other LSAMP programs in the UT System and nationally, creates a unique foundation for new Bridge to the Doctorate Fellows' academic and professional success in STEM fields."

Erick Jones, professor of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering and co-principal investigator on the project, said: "This program is a big win for UT Arlington. It shows our commitment to diversity in the STEM field where there is a distinctive gap in underrepresented students, both in Texas and the United States. This award demonstrates UT Arlington's role as a national leader in recruiting and producing domestic STEM Ph.Ds. by focusing on diverse populations."

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Eligible students must apply or be admitted to a STEM doctoral program at UT Arlington in Fall 2014, Spring 2014 or Summer 2015, must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, must have participated in a federally funded undergraduate research program, and must be beginning students or not advanced students in their doctoral studies. Visit http://www.uta.edu/admissions/lsamp/ for more information.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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