UAPB-led alliance gains $3.5 million grant

The nine-member, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff-led state Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation has received a $3.5-million, five-year operating grant from the National Science Foundation, UAPB Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Mary Benjamin announced Tuesday.

Benjamin said the award is a testament to the collaborative work of the member institutions, which in addition to UAPB include Southeast Arkansas College, Arkansas State University, Philander Smith College, Phillips County Community College at Stuttgart, Pulaski Technical College, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and University of Arkansas at Monticello. PCCC has been added to the group since it received its first five-year NSF grant in 2008.

The funding is aimed at supporting the alliance in its mission to increase the diversity and workforce preparedness of the institutions’ science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates. Alliance STEM enrollment is currently at 150 students, and graduates number 35.

Among the graduates is UAPB alumna Ashley Rich, who is presently in her second year of a doctoral program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Benjamin said the new award enables the alliance to proceed with an additional emphasis on veterans and links from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions.

“This program is designed to not only help students in being excited about STEM fields, but also to be better prepared for opportunities afterward,” Benjamin said.

“We are extremely pleased to receive our new grant award,” alliance Project Director Anissa Buckner said in a news release.