By AFRO Staff

Howard University recently received a $4 million award from the Hopper-Dean Foundation with an eye toward reducing disparities in STEM fields.

The Bison STEM Scholars Program (BSSP) will provide 10 computer science or computer engineering students with a full-ride scholarship for four years and help expand the university’s STEM program. According to Howard, it is the largest endowment it has received from a nonprofit to date.

“The Hopper-Dean donation will make a life-altering difference in the lives of our students and we appreciate their investment and confidence in the University,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick in a statement. “We have made significant progress over the last three years through the Bison STEM Program to change the landscape of what STEM Ph.D’s look like. This significant financial contribution by the Hopper-Dean Foundation speaks volumes to the caliber of the program and the student success achieved thus far.”

BSSP was launched in 2017 with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who earn a doctoral or other advanced degree in a STEM discipline.  By partnering with Howard, the California-based Hopper-Dean Foundation aims to further those goals by addressing some of the socioeconomic barriers that prevent women and minorities from pursuing STEM degrees. The scholarships will cover the chosen scholars’ tuition and fees for their courses of study.

“As the importance of computing and computer science continues to grow, we truly believe the population of computer scientists should reflect that growth in terms of diversity,” said Jeffrey Dean and Heidi Hopper in a statement. “This gift to Howard University is designed to support Howard’s robust STEM education program and help expand its reach in the future.” 

In addition to scholarships, the donation will provide the university with $1 million to support future programs and initiatives related to STEM education.

“This generous contribution will allow the Bison STEM Scholars Program to continue providing minority students with a rigorous and supportive opportunity in STEM education. By participating in our program, these emerging scholars will be some of the most well-prepared candidates for graduate or professional degrees amongst their peers,” said Ron H. Smith, program director for the Bison STEM Scholars Program. “We look forward to growing our capacity to serve more students interested in pursuing professional careers in STEM with the support of this gift.”