DOE Summer 2015 STEM Students – Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program now accepting applications! – Deadline January 2, 2015

U.S. Department of Energy Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program (MLEF)

The Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) Program provides students with an opportunity to gain and develop research skills with the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy for 10 weeks over the summer. For 20 years, this program has increased awareness of DOE research opportunities to students pursuing STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and math). The goal of the program is to improve opportunities for women and minority students in these fields, however all eligible candidates are encouraged to apply.  Stipends start at $600 per week and eligible Fellows will receive an additional travel and housing allowance.  For more information, visit http://orise.orau.gov/mlef/.

Eligibility

  • Be at least 18 years of age at time of application;
  • Be a U.S. Citizen;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0;
  • Be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university (sophomore year or higher) or had a Ph.D. conferred on or after January 2, 2014 in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree

Application closes Friday, January 2, 2015 – click http://orise.orau.gov/mlef/ to get started NOW!

 

National Park Service Mosaics in Science Internship Program – Deadline: February 3, 2015

The Mosaics in Science program developed by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with the Geological Society of America (GSA), with the aim of increasing the diversity among those who seek STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers within the National Park Service.

The Mosaics in Science program offers paid, short-term STEM positions in some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world—National Park Service sites throughout the United States of America. Mosaics in Science is a relatively new, diversity-oriented program that began in the summer of 2013, with 12 different exciting positions from Washington, DC, to Washington state. For the the Summer of 2015, 26 Mosaics in Science positions will be offered.   Selected participants will spend 11 weeks working on a STEM project at a NPS site. After completing their projects, participants travel to Washington, DC, to participate in a career workshop that provides opportunities to present their work and meet with various members of NPS staff and management.  Mosaics in Science is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) Geological Resources Division, the National Park Service (NPS) Youth Programs Office and the Geological Society of America. Generous funding has been provided by the National Park Foundation.

Students are welcome to apply by visiting: http://rock.geosociety.org/mosaics/.

Summer Internships for HBCU Students

The Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center Program* for Faculty Development and Diversity in the Office for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School is pleased to offer two great research programs this coming summer.

Visiting Research Internship Program (VRIP)

The Visiting Research Internship Program (VRIP), for first and second year medical students, is an eight-week mentored, summer research program, designed to enrich medical students’ interest in research and health-related careers, particularly clinical/translational research careers.

In addition to a mentored clinical/translational research experience, VRIP students participate in weekly seminars with Harvard faculty focusing on topics such as research methodology, health disparities, ethics, and career paths. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in offerings of other Harvard Medical School programs such as career development seminars and networking dinners. VRIP students are expected to complete an abstract, paper and oral presentation of their summer research project.

Summer Clinical and Translational Research Program (SCTRP)
The Summer Clinical and Translational Research Program (SCTRP), for undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors, is a ten-week mentored, summer research program, designed to enrich the pipeline of college students’ understanding of and interest in pursuing clinical and/or translational research, as well as to increase underrepresented minority and disadvantaged college student exposure to clinical/translational research.
In addition to mentored clinical/translational research experience, SCTRP students participate in weekly seminars with Harvard faculty and graduate students focusing on topics such as research methodology, health disparities, ethics, career paths, and the graduate school and medical school application process. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in offerings of other Harvard Medical School programs such as career development seminars and networking dinners. SCTRP students are expected to complete an abstract, paper and oral presentation of their summer research project.

For more information on VRIP, please visit the website: https://mfdp.med.harvard.edu/dcp-programs/medicalgraduate/pfdd/VRIP.

For more information on SCTRP, please visit the website: https://mfdp.med.harvard.edu/dcp-programs/college/program-college-students-summer-clinical-and-translational-research-program

Please note that both programs have an invitation-based application. In order for students to receive an application, they must email pfdd_dcp@hms.harvard.edu in order to request one.

Feel free to reach out to Danyelle Thorpe if you have any questions.

Danyellé Thorpe
Program Coordinator
Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center
CTSC Program for Faculty Development and Diversity
Office of Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership
Harvard Medical School
164 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.432.1892
Fax: 617.432.3834
Email: danyelle_thorpe@hms.harvard.edu

Graduate Student Grant Participation Opportunity with the Social Security Administration (SSA)

SSA is excited again to offer graduate students the opportunity to participate in one of our small grant programs in the Fall of 2015!   Selected participants for the Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program receive a $10,000 stipend for a one year project to research enhancements to SSA’s Disability Determination processes.  Please refer to the SSA website link below or the attached flyer for further details on the grant opportunity.

While the  grant opportunities are available to all graduate students pursuing full-time studies in accredited programs as of Fall semester of 2015. We hope for strong participation from the MSI community.  Please note that the application deadline is March 2, 2015.

Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program participation opportunity: 

http://mwww.ba.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/research.htm#DDP    After opening this link, please select the link on the words, “PRI website” for the Program Description and How to Apply information.

You may contact Thomas Rush (Tom.Rush@ssa.gov), Laura King (Laura.King@ssa.gov),  if you have any questions.

 

Xavier receives $19.6 million NIH award to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce

Xavier receives $19.6 million NIH award to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce

NEW ORLEANS (October 22, 2014) – This afternoon Xavier University of Louisiana received a $19.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the national Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. Xavier will use the grant to expand the already thriving biomedical programs the historically Black university offers its students.

“Xavier is already number one in the nation as the primary undergraduate source of African American Ph.D.s in the life sciences,” said Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University. “Yet, with this grant, we believe we can triple the number of these graduates and increase the number of African American life science Ph.D.s nationally by 10%. We are proud that NIH has named us one of the institutions that it believes can uniquely contribute to this important goal.”

The award is part of a $240 million NIH investment involving more than 10 institutions to develop new approaches to engage student researchers, including those from underrepresented backgrounds, and prepare them to thrive in the NIH-funded workforce. Xavier and fellow awardees will establish a national consortium to train, mentor and encourage students from underrepresented groups to enter into and stay in research careers.

“These awards represent a significant step towards ensuring that NIH’s future biomedical research workforce will reflect the unique perspectives found within the diverse composition of our society,” said Dr. Hannah Valantine, NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity.

“Participation in faculty research projects is a major reason for Xavier’s success in graduating STEM [science, technology and engineering] students, many of whom go on to get the Ph.D.,” said Dr. Gene D’Amour, the university’s principal investigator for the grant. “Working with our partner

research universities across the nation, this NIH grant will greatly increase the opportunities for our students to become even more actively engaged in cutting-edge research and to go on to get life science Ph.D.s.”

Xavier will serve as the primary institution for its grant, “Project PATHWAY: Building Integrated Pathways to Independence for Diverse Biomedical Researchers.” It has partnered with Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, the Louisiana State University and its Health Science Center, Tulane University, The University of Wisconsin, Meharry Medical College, George Washington University, Penn State University, the University of Rochester and the University of California San Francisco. Xavier will conduct and oversee the program’s implementation to broaden the interests of students early in their college careers and attract them to a life sciences Ph.D. The primary benefit to the 11 partners is access to Xavier STEM students to participate in their summer research programs and ultimately attract these students to their graduate programs. These students, known as BUILD Scholars, are motivated undergraduate science students with an interest in doing research and pursuing a Ph.D.

“The Laney Graduate School at Emory University is pleased to partner with Xavier University to implement the BUILD Initiative. Our commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion at Emory is being implemented through robust, innovative programming that creates pipelines to increase the number of underrepresented students entering and progressing through doctoral programs in the biomedical sciences. Partnership with Xavier University will undoubtedly benefit ¬ and better ¬ our efforts. A deeper level of engagement with BUILD scholars during their undergraduate experience will create opportunities that we hope will not only attract them to our programs at Emory, but ultimately create and nurture a biomedical workforce that is more representative of the unique perspectives and diversity of our nation,” said Lisa A. Tedesco, Ph.D., Dean, James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies, Emory University.

The BUILD Initiative is expected to include five integrated components:

  •  Tuition scholarships, including stipends, for undergraduate BUILD scholars and possible loan repayment funds for those who pursue a Ph.D.
  • Training and mentorship experiences for students across a wide range of disciplines in the biomedical sciences;
  • Salary support for key faculty responsible for research training;
  • Resources for highly effective mentors to train new mentors; and
  • Support for an “innovation space” environment for BUILD awardee institutions to develop additional creative and novel approaches to increase the diversity of the student pool that enters the Ph.D. training pathway relevant to biomedical research

“This NIH grant just could not be a more exciting opportunity for Xavier faculty and students to expand our research mentoring and training efforts to now ensure even a greater number of our graduates will pipeline into STEM terminal degree programs and subsequent biomedical research careers,” said Dr. Maryam Foroozesh, Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs at Xavier. “Not only does this award speak to the value that Xavier holds for our nation and the world relative to the effective training of biomedical research leaders but also reflects a deep alignment with Xavier’s commitment to its mission and appreciation of its rich history.”

For information about the BUILD awardees and partners, please visit http://commonfund.nih.gov/diversity/fundedresearch

 

UDC and Aruba Collaborate to Promote Food and Water Security

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and the Island Nation of Aruba have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, entering an agreement to collaborate on capacity-building skills and knowledge in support of food and water security. The MOU, which was signed Friday, Oct. 3, marks the latest international collaboration for the University.

“This agreement signifies our joint commitment to a sustainable future; to a future of food security, of water security and of innovative ways to enhance economic productivity by utilizing the tremendous capacity of nature,” stated Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., Interim President of UDC.

The Prime Minister of Aruba, The Honorable Michiel Godfried Eman, joined President Lyons and CAUSES Dean Dr. Sabine O’Hara for the MOU signing which took place at UDC’s Van Ness campus. Prime Minister Eman also holds the title of Minister of Science, Innovation and Sustainable Development.

“Science, Innovation, and Sustainable Development are precisely what we teach, research and offer through our five landgrant centers to the residents of the District of Columbia,” explained Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean of CAUSES and Director of Landgrant Programs for UDC. “We also seek to collaborate with likeminded partners around the world who share our vision of a sustainable future.”

CAUSES embodies the landgrant tradition of the UDC.  As such, the College is part of a rich history and national network of universities that focus on agriculture, applied technology, nutrition, and health. What sets CAUSES apart is that its programs focus on urban sustainability, and on innovative ways to produce food on small areas of land. Programs such as these allow CAUSES to take advantage of collaborations like the one with Aruba.

Aruba, an island nation in the Caribbean Sea located 15 miles north of Venezuela, is a diverse constituent country of the Netherlands. Only 11 percent of Aruba’s land is arable. The nation imports 90 percent of its food, and $3.162 billion of total goods annually. The island, has invested greatly in a sustainable future. Ten large windmills line the coast, and by 2020, the country will generate its energy from renewable sources, eliminating its dependency on fossil fuels. Other green initiatives are also underway to preserve the environment for future generations. The Prime Minister joined Dean O’Hara for an episode of CAUSES TV, to discuss the similarities and challenges between Aruba and Washington, D.C.

The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences is playing a major role in helping Washington, D.C. to become more sustainable and its residents to be healthier and more food secure. Food security refers to having access to a steady, dependable supply of nutritious food that supports a healthy and active lifestyle. CAUSES has launched a number of community partnerships that connect the dots between locally grown food, nutritional health and economic empowerment. Its programs offer D.C. residents the skills to grow their own food, and the UDC research farm provides expertise to make urban farming a successful business venture. For more information on CAUSES, visit www.udc.edu/causes. For more information on Aruba, visit www.Aruba.com.

 

 

 

 

Graduate Student Grant Participation Opportunity with the Social Security Administration (SSA)

SSA is excited again to offer graduate students the opportunity to participate in one of our small grant programs in the Fall of 2015!   Selected participants for our Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program receive a $10,000 stipend for a one year project to research enhancements to SSA’s Disability Determination processes.  Please refer to the SSA website link below or the attached flyer for further details on the grant opportunity.

Grant opportunities are available to all graduate students pursuing full-time studies in accredited programs as of Fall semester of 2015.  Please note that the application deadline is March 2, 2015.  Information about this Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program participation opportunity:

http://mwww.ba.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/research.htm#DDP   – After opening this link, please select the link on the words, “PRI website” for the Program Description and How to Apply information.

You may contact Thomas Rush (Tom.Rush@ssa.gov), Laura King (Laura.King@ssa.gov), if you have any questions.  Thank you for your assistance.

 

U.S. Education Department Announces Final Rule to Strengthen Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program

Today, the Department of Education announced publication of a final rule to strengthen the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, helping more students and families pay for college, and ensuring they have the tools and resources to make informed decisions about financing their educational pursuits.  The new regulations will both expand student access to postsecondary education and safeguard taxpayer dollars by reflecting economic and programmatic changes that have occurred since the program was established over 20 years ago.

“The Department’s top priority is to ensure more students can access and successfully complete a postsecondary education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The updated borrowing standards for the PLUS loan program demonstrate our commitment to ensuring families have access to the financing they need to reach their goal, while being good stewards of taxpayer money.”

The final regulations update the definition of “adverse credit history” for PLUS loan applicants, and implement a streamlined application process for borrowers to obtain a PLUS loan, specifically for those with adverse credit histories. Economic conditions have changed considerably in the last 20 years, and this update will ensure the regulations reflect current circumstances.

The Department is also taking action to provide families with clear, customized information about their loan obligations to support their college financing decisions and ensure their loan debt stays manageable.  To better ensure families are aware of, fully understand, and comfortable with their loan obligations, the Department is developing a new loan counseling tool that would provide customized information to assist PLUS borrowers.  While PLUS borrowers with an adverse credit history determination would be required to complete counseling before their loan could be approved under the Department’s reconsideration process, the tool will be made available to all PLUS loan borrowers.

Finally, to provide more transparency in the PLUS loan program, the Department will also collect and, where appropriate, publish information about the performance of PLUS loans, including default rate information based on credit history characteristics of PLUS loan borrowers and individual institutional default rates.

Background

Prior to the final regulations issued today, the definition of “adverse credit history” under the regulations had not been updated since the Direct Loan program was established in 1994.

The development of the final rule reflects extensive outreach by the Department , including four public hearings across the country to gather feedback and recommendations from students, families, higher education leaders, and community organizations.  The negotiated rulemaking committee then held four sessions from February to May, and reached agreement on the definition of adverse credit history under the regulation.  These draft provisions were published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule (NPRM) on August 8, and included a 30-day public comment period.

The final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register Thursday, Oct. 23, establishes a threshold debt amount of $2,085, indexed to inflation, below which a potential borrower is considered to not have an adverse credit history.

Other changes include:

  • Defining terms such as debt “charged off” and “in collection” to more accurately determine whether an applicant has an adverse credit history.
  • Reducing the time period of a borrower’s credit history that is considered to determine adverse credit history from the last five years to the last two years for charge offs and collections.
  • Requiring that PLUS Loan applicants who, despite having adverse credit are able to receive a PLUS Loan based on either demonstrating extenuating circumstances or by obtaining an eligible endorser, participate in loan counseling.

Under the “master calendar” provision of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the final regulations are scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2015; however, the Department is designating the final regulations for early implementation under section 484(c)(2) of the HEA.  The Department intends to work closely with stakeholders, including our college partners, as they implement the provisions of the new regulation. As current eligibility procedures such as adverse credit history determinations reside with the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, we expect limited impact on current institutional procedures and processes for the packaging of student loans.

The Obama Administration has made historic investments to increases the maximum Pell grant award by $1,000, create the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, and enact effective student loan reforms that eliminated subsidies to banks and reinvested in America’s students and families to make college more affordable.  Along with these efforts, today’s actions expand college opportunity and ensure families have the finances they need to succeed in their college pursuits, to help us reach the President’s goal for America lead the world in college graduation.