New scholarship named after UMBC’s Freeman Hrabowski III promises $1.5B toward diversity-focused scientists
The institute’s Freeman Hrabowski Scholars Program will fund up to 150 diversity-focused, early career scientists over the next 20 years. Scientists who remain in the program for the full 10 years will receive up to $8. The program aims to sustain Hrabowski’s legacy with significant financial support of scientists dedicated to building diverse labs. Leslie Vosshall, vice president and chief scientific officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said the goal of the scholarship program is to eliminate barriers that keep scientists from focusing on their actual work such as writing grant applications and other duties that contribute to the so-called minority tax, which occurs when minorities are asked to help diversify their institutions for free. The program “will help people realize what [Hrabowski] has contributed to minority [science, technology, engineering and math] education in the U.
Based in Chevy Chase, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is the legacy of American business magnate Howard Hughes, known for Hughes Aircraft Co. Hrabowski said the Howard Hughes institute’s new scholar program will help produce “this wonderful ecosystem of leading scientists committed to diversity and inclusion,” an ecosystem that doesn’t exist just yet. He said fewer than 2% of scientists in national agencies are Black. Hrabowski said he wanted more scientists with diverse backgrounds, like Kizzmekia Corbett, a UMBC almuna and the first Black woman to create a vaccine; she co-led the team that crafted the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19. The program is part of the Howard Hughes institute’s $2 billion commitment to its own diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
Though the scholarship focuses on diversity in science, scholars do not necessarily have to be from a minority background. The scholarship is for scientists focused on issues such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness, Vosshall said. “That acts as a protective measures so that the department doesn’t exploit their talents and their diversities and and distract them from the science,” Vosshall said.
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