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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

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College of Science News

NSF is funding push for more doctoral degrees in STEM fields

The University of Texas at Arlington has been awarded $987,000 from the National Science Foundation for 2010-12 to increase the number of students attaining their doctoral degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The funding for the Bridge-to-Doctorate, or BD, fellowships at UT Arlington comes from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation LSAMP program at the NSF. Louis Stokes played a pivotal role in the quest for civil rights, equality and social and economic justice throughout his tenure in the U.S. Congress.

UT Arlington has been a part of the UT System LSAMP since 1993, closely collaborating with the lead institution UT El Paso and other UT campuses toward the goal of increasing the quantity and quality of baccalaureate degree recipients in STEM fields, especially among women and minorities.

The BD program awards a dozen students full tuition and fees, $30,000 annual stipends for two years, an allowance for textbooks and research supplies, participation in the NSF Joint Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., research conference participation and support, and developmental workshops and activities.

"This grant can help us to recruit excellent students from all over the country to our STEM doctoral programs as we transform our institution to a national research university," said Tuncay Aktosun, UT Arlington mathematics professor and co-director of the program on campus. "The program also provides intensive mentoring and academic support for the fellows to be successful in their graduate studies and beyond."

Philip Cohen, UT Arlington vice provost for academic affairs and graduate school dean and co-director of the program, said that after the initial two-year BD funding, the fellows are supported by other funding mechanisms to ensure their timely graduation.

"Earning this fellowship award allows UT Arlington to take a big step toward Tier One status. It helps on so many fronts," Cohen said. "The program will help us increase both the number of Ph.D. recipients in STEM fields at UT Arlington and the number of STEM Ph.D. recipients from under-represented groups. We're looking forward to identifying the 12 most qualified BD fellowship recipients among all the applicants."

Eligible students must apply or be admitted to a STEM doctoral program at UT Arlington starting in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011, must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, must have participated in a federally funded undergraduate research program, must be beginning students or not advanced students in their doctoral studies.

An online application for the UT Arlington LSAMP-BD fellowship program will be available at June 6. The deadline for submission of all the application materials including the receipt of two recommendation letters is July 26, 2010.