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University of Iowa News Release

July 7, 2003

UI Wins $1.8 Million For Minority Doctorates

The University of Iowa has won three Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grants from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) totaling more than $1.8 million to increase the number of African American, Hispanic and Native-American doctoral candidates in engineering, mathematics and chemistry.

The grants will fund a total of 26 fellowships for graduate students from underrepresented ethnic groups, thanks in large part to about $800,000 in matching funds provided by the UI Graduate College.

The grants include:

--$688,716 (plus $408,794 in UI matching funds) to support 10 College of Engineering fellowships.
--$590,328 (plus $179,170 in UI matching funds) to support eight College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) chemistry fellowships.
--$590,328 (plus $200,000 in UI matching funds) to support eight CLAS mathematics fellowships.

With the latest awards, the UI has won some 10 GAANN grants over the past decade to assist in training doctoral candidates in such fields as engineering, chemistry, geoscience, mathematics, and physics and astronomy. The grants are designed to help increase the number of minority mathematics, natural sciences and engineering professors nationwide.

In the case of mathematics, for example, the latest award marks the fifth GAANN grant the math department has received in eight years, bringing its total of such grants to more than $2.5 million. Although about 1,100 doctorates in mathematics are earned at U.S. colleges and universities each year, African-American, Native American or Hispanic students earn only about 25. At the UI, underrepresented U.S. minority students account for about 20 percent of the math department's graduate student population, one of the highest such figures in the nation. Mathematics Professor David Manderscheid notes that the department leads an NSF-funded partnership with the mathematics departments of four historically black institutions, enabling students to move between the departments for the purpose of producing African-American doctoral candidates in mathematics.

Victor G. J. Rodgers, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, says that the College of Engineering has graduated only four minority doctoral recipients since 1999 but currently has four minority students in its doctoral program and has a significant number of admissions for next year. He notes that the college's current efforts are bolstered by its existing memberships in the NSF-sponsored Iowa Regents Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) and the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees in Engineering and the Sciences (GEM).

Darrell Eyman, professor of chemistry, says: "Hopefully we can have an impact on the number of underrepresented minority students receiving doctorates in chemistry. That's our objective. We have more than tripled the number in our Ph.D. program with a previous GAANN grant, and we plan to continue increasing this number. Our participation in the NSF AGEP program will enhance our recruiting activities."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 301, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, Writer, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu