The University of Alabama has received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a bridge program for students from three Historically Black Colleges and Universities interested in opportunities in renewable energy.
The UA Graduate School’s Strategic Graduate Partnerships Initiative and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, worked together to develop the program that partners with Stillman College, Fort Valley State University and Jackson State University to prepare undergraduate students for graduate programs, industry careers and entrepreneurial opportunities in renewable energy. The five-year project was funded through the NSF’s Bridging Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Communities, also known as RII-BEC.
Project goals include enhancing the competitiveness of HBCU student participants as applicants to graduate programs, preparing participants for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce by reinforcing hands-on lab experiences that were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing students with content knowledge, skills, experiences and confidence to engage in entrepreneurial pursuits in the STEM arena. Bridge program activities will take place through resident summer programs at UA, as well as student exchanges between UA and Stillman students during the academic year.
The program will sponsor undergraduate students from Stillman, Fort Valley State and Jackson State each summer of the five-year project by providing stipends, on-campus housing and travel expenses. In addition, Stillman students will participate in exchange activities each year during the fall and spring semesters.
We envision participants will gain the experience and confidence needed to successfully compete nationally and internationally for advanced degrees and to join the energy industry workforce.