Grants or Gifts Relating to Women in Higher Education

Here is this week’s news of grants and gifts that may be of particular interest to women in higher education.

Martha Escobar, an associate professor of psychology at Oakland University, has been awarded a $2.6 million grant by the National Science Foundation for a research project focused on examining the factors that contribute to the success of women underrepresented minority faculty (URM) in STEM departments at HBCUs. One part of this project will select early-career URM faculty at Tuskegee University, Tennessee State University, and Jackson State University, and provide them support that will contribute to their career-advancement. Additionally, Dr. Escobar will conduct research on how URM faculty members perceive their universities and how that contributes to their success. According to Dr. Escobar, even though the number of URM with Ph.Ds in STEM fields is growing, they only make up 8 percent of STEM faculty. She believes “that efforts should be made not only to recruit URM faculty, but also to retain URMs in academia, and provide an environment that helps them progress through the academic ranks to reach the status of full professor.” Dr. Escobar holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Deusto in Spain, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in cognitive and behavioral science from the Binghamton University in New York.

Google has provided a grant to the University of New Mexico that will fund a program that aims to recruit more women undergraduates to robotics. The project will be led by Lydia Tapia, an associate professor in the department of computer science. The program, entitled “Becoming a Robot Guru Workshop” will first mentor a group of graduate students who will then each mentor a group of undergraduate students during a workshop at a top robotics conference. Groups of undergraduate students will interact with the workshop virtually, either via a laptop or 360 VR Google Daydream headset, and in-person. Research from the Computing Research Association Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline found that 82 percent of students want to pursue a graduate degree and almost 60 percent want to pursue a Ph.D. in robotics after completing the workshop. Dr. Tapia holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tulane University in New Orleans and a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University.

A grant from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has supported new research from the University of Southern California which has developed a new way to identify molecular markers of breast cancer tumors. The research team programmed a computer to rapidly sort images of breast tumors to identify which ones had estrogen receptors, a key to determining prognosis and treatment options. This method is much faster than using microscopes and cell biopsies which have been used for this process in the past. The new machine learning technology will allow patients diagnosed with breast cancer to receive the correct drug and dosage weeks earlier than they would have previously.

The State University of New York has received $5 million in funding through the state of New York’s Office of Victim Services that will allow the university to supply and distribute 225,000 comfort bags to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The university will be distributing these packages to those seeking help at hospitals, shelters, and rape crisis centers across New York. Each bag contains essential personal care items and information about services available to them. This funding will enhance the SUNY’s Got Your Back program which has already provided 25,000 bags to victims over the past three years.


Filed Under: Grants


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