The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced the launch of a $6.9 million initiative to increase the retention and recruitment of underserved students in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Grants to UC San Diego and UC Berkeley will support a five-year effort to replicate the success of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, a mentoring program that originated thirty years ago at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to the two UC campuses. At Berkeley, the funds will support a new initiative known as the STEM Scholars program, while at UC San Diego it will fund enhancements to the existing PATHS STEM scholarship program. UMBC graduates more African Americans who go on to earn dual MD/PhD degrees than any other college in the United States.
Though STEM employment has increased 79 percent since the late 1980s and STEM workers earn more on average than non-STEM workers, African Americans and Latinx workers continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields and the median salary of African Americans and Latinx workers in STEM occupations is lower than it is for white and Asian workers.
"The key to accelerating discoveries in science or the next tech breakthrough will be dependent on our ability to bring fresh perspectives to STEM fields," said CZI co-founder and co-CEO Priscilla Chan. "California's openness to new ways of thinking is what has made this state an innovation engine for the world, and the University of California has played a crucial role in that as one of the largest and most diverse public research universities in the country. With these new grants, we hope to help bring even more diversity of perspective and experience to our state — and to Silicon Valley."