Clemson Aims to Increase the Number of Black Ph.D. Students in Chemical Engineering

Clemson University in South Carolina has launched a new effort to increase the number of Black students who pursue a doctoral degree in chemical engineering. African Americans currently earn only a tiny percentage of all Ph.Ds in chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Clemson plans to sponsor six Ph.D. students over the next five years with $34,000 stipends. The university will recruit these students from Clemson master’s and undergraduate programs as well as at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the South.

Mark Blenner, the McQueen-Quattlebaum Associate Professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Clemson, stated “if you make six faculty members, you’re making six people who are going to influence about 100 students a year for the next 30 or 40 years. The initial investment creates 4,000 engineers. You’re basically investing in better preparing the next generation of engineers and scientists.”

The program was made possible by a $746,250 grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Graduate Assistance for Areas of National Need program.


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