The Daily Illini

Sloan Foundation grant to continue improving minority representation

The University received a $1 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to continue funding the Sloan University Center of Exemplary Mentoring at Illinois, a program that started in 2015 to support underrepresented minority doctoral students in STEM fields.

UCEM at the University is one of nine in the country.

UCEM has reported a 25 percent increase in underrepresented minority applicants as well as a 47 percent increase in underrepresented minority enrollment in LAS and Engineering.

Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, dean of the graduate college, said UCEM underscores the University’s commitment to diversifying graduate education and providing support for graduate students from underrepresented minorities.

“The reason that’s important is because the University is a reflection of the broader world, which is becoming increasingly more diverse,” he said. “And it’s critical that graduate education and undergraduate education at Illinois reflect the increasing diversity of our nation and our world.”

Chodzko-Zajko said UCEM does this by providing resources to students as well as providing them with mentoring and services they need to be successful.

“Our partnership with the Sloan Foundation is enabling more students of color to come to the University of Illinois to study in the STEM discipline,” he said.

Chodzko-Zajko said the graduate college is very pleased the Sloan Foundation has decided to provide an additional million dollars on top of the million dollars that it provided three years ago, so it can continue to provide support to students of color.

“Every one of the $1 million goes directly to a student, and so it’s tremendously helpful in increasing the number and quality of underrepresented students on our campus,” Chodzko-Zajko said.

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