DEI in STEM
Houston university lands $2.5M grant for STEM inclusivity
Rice University was recently granted $2.5 million to develop programs that make STEM degrees more accessible to students of all walks of life.
The five-year grant is part of The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Driving Change initiative, which focuses on breaking down barriers in STEM fields at research universities.
Rice is one of six universities to receive the grant this year. According to a statement from Rice, this year's winners were named for making "culture change efforts" within the universities.
“Rice has laid the groundwork for student success, and this funding will allow us to teach math courses in an accessible way that is inclusive to all students and promotes equity in STEM," Amy Dittmar, Howard R. Hughes Provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, says in a statement. "Students who are underrepresented, first-generation college students, Pell grant recipients, women and athletes should have the same opportunities for success as everyone else.”
Other universities in the 2023 cohort include:
- The University of California, Los Angeles
- Illinois State University
- The University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- Rice University
- Rutgers University – Camden
- The University of Vermont
The first group of six universities awarded a Driving Change grant were named last year. Awardees are also part of the HHMI Driving Change Learning Community of 38 institutions that aim to create more inclusive environments.
“Each of this year’s grantee institutions has demonstrated their dedication to carrying out critical, intensive work for the betterment of the wider world of STEM and STEM education,” Sarah Simmons, HHMI program lead for Driving Change, says in a statement. “Part of this work includes a thorough self-study to ensure that each institution identifies its own unique needs. We are honored to be a part of a community with so many change-makers who are driven by the goal of making science and science education accessible to everyone.”
The grant was secured by Rice team members Janet Braam, Margaret Beier, Alex Byrd, Liz Eich, Dereth Phillips, Caroline Quenemoen, Renata Ramos, Matt Taylor and Tony Varilly Alvarado.
Earlier this fall, Rice also announced the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or Lilie, which recruited 11 entrepreneurs to the council with Houston ties to support “promising entrepreneurial programs for students, research staff and faculty.” Each has agreed to donate time and money to the university’s entrepreneurship programs.
That same month, Rice teamed up with Houston Methodist to open the new Center for Human Performance.