Bloomberg gifts $150M to diversify Hopkins' STEM doctorate programs

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Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University on May 13 launched a new initiative to address the historic underrepresentation of students of color in STEM PhD programs, funded by a $150 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative will recruit students from historically Black colleges and minority serving institutions to enter PhD programs in STEM fields. The program is named after Mr. Thomas, a Black surgical laboratory supervisor who developed a corrective cardiac surgery technique to treat "blue baby syndrome" while working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1940s.

Bloomberg's $150 million gift will create a cohort of about 100 new positions for PhD students of color to enter the university's 30 STEM PhD programs. Each student will receive up to six years of full tuition support, a stipend, health insurance and travel funding.

Initial pathway programs will begin in the summer, and the initiative's first cohort will enter their PhD programs in the fall of 2022.

Students of color make up just 11 percent of students in Johns Hopkins' STEM PhD programs, slightly higher than the national average of 9 percent, according to the university. 

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