Alcorn cashes in on $2.5M grant

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 27, 1999

Alcorn State University hit the academic jackpot when notification arrived Friday that the university would receive the largest grant in its history for science education – $2.5 million.

The five-year grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to enhance the university’s science, mathematics, pre-engineering, technology and research programs.

&uot;Over the five-year period of the grant, we plan to provide a lot of experience for our teachers and unique research internships for our students,&uot; said Thomas Bolden, professor of chemistry and physics at Alcorn.

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Achieving the grant &uot;was an interdepartmental, team effort of the faculty,&uot; said Ralph L. Payne, spokesman for Alcorn State University.

The university will use money from the grant to plan, operate and manage an undergraduate program called &uot;Increasing Participation of Minorities in Undergraduate Research Programs by Strengthening Curricula at Specific Gatekeeper Courses.&uot;

Through that program, Alcorn will strengthen curricula and faculty, provide research opportunities for students, and ensure that students are prepared to go on to graduate school.

Money from the grant will also fund stipends for full-time undergraduate students who are eligible and are engaged in scholarly research and education activities in the science, mathematics, engineering, and technology areas.

Alcorn currently ranks sixth out of the nation’s top 100 institutions of higher learning producing black graduates with biological science degrees, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

&uot;Our ranking is a result of a strong curriculum, dedicated faculty, and our goal to be a national leader in the sciences,&uot; said Clinton Bristow Jr., president of Alcorn State University.

&uot;We are very pleased with our current position. However, with the help of this grant, we are determined and confident that we will soon reach the number one position.&uot;