By Kési Felton, Staff Reporter
Howard University received an unprecedented gift of $10 million from the Karsh Family Foundation to endow its STEM Scholars Program, announced in a news release Wednesday, Jan. 22.
The Bison STEM Scholars Program, now renamed the Karsh STEM Scholars Program (KSSP), offers a full scholarship to high school students interested in pursuing a degree in a STEM field, with the ultimate goal of receiving a Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. Since 2017, the program has created opportunities for students to study abroad, participate in research internships and gain a mentor throughout their matriculation.
KSSP receives thousands of applications from motivated high school students looking to make an impact through a STEM career.
“Thanks to this generous gift, the Karsh STEM Scholars Program will realize its full potential to cultivate a workforce pipeline of talented students from underrepresented communities who are well equipped to become leaders in the global STEM community,” said KSSP Program Director Ronald Smith.
Howard University is the leading institution to produce degrees in STEM fields. Data published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education placed Howard as the fourth-largest producer of STEM graduates.
The program seeks to offset the underrepresentation of Black professionals in STEM fields- only 12 percent of STEM degrees conferred at post-secondary institutions in the 2015-2016 academic year were awarded to Black people, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Black women have historically comprised an even smaller percentage of representation, receiving only 2.9 percent of STEM degrees across all STEM fields.
In addition, the Karsh’s gift will endow the Lomax KIPP Scholarship, a new scholarship fund that will be awarded to graduates of KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program. KIPP is the nation’s largest network of public charter schools, with 53 graduates currently enrolled at Howard University.
According to an article published by Howard University Newsroom, two Lomax KIPP Scholarships will be awarded each year and will cover the difference between financial aid and cost of attendance, ensuring a debt-free education for its awardees.
The scholarship is named after Dr. Michael L. Lomax, CEO and President of the United Negro College Fund.
“We are filled with gratitude for the continuous support the Karsh family, Dr. Lomax and Howard University have given to our KIPP students,” said Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation. “This scholarship and our partnership with Howard will ensure more KIPP students have access to a phenomenal college education and the opportunity to pursue their passions.”
The Karsh Family Foundation was established in 1998 by entrepreneur Bruce Karsh and attorney Martha Karsh and focuses its philanthropic efforts towards education, having donated up to $250 million for various scholarship funds and programming.