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Howard University has been dedicated to diversifying the STEM industry and the institution will be able to move the needle forward thanks to an endowment from the Karsh Family Foundation. The philanthropic group gifted the Washington, D.C.-based HBCU $10 million to benefit a program designed to expose youth to career paths in STEM, the university reported.

The Karsh Family Foundation—founded by entrepreneur Bruce A. Karsh and his wife Martha L. Karsh—funds initiatives focused on empowering underprivileged youth through education. Their donation to Howard, which is the university’s largest one to date, will go towards the Bison STEM Scholars Program. The prestigious STEM education program, which will be renamed after the Karsh family, encompasses advanced coursework, hands-on learning experiences and mentorship to prepare the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math. Students who are accepted into the program receive full-ride scholarships. The gift will fund several cohorts.

Part of the endowment will go towards the Lomax KIPP scholarship fund; an initiative named after United Negro College Fund CEO and President Michael L. Lomax that provides financial assistance for students who attend schools within the Knowledge is Power Program network.

Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick believes the gift will be instrumental in increasing racial representation in STEM. “We are grateful to Martha and Bruce Karsh for their transformative investment and support of  our students and our vision to create a diverse workforce of highly-skilled scholars equipped to take on careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” he said in a statement. “When we created this program, with the support of the Board of Trustees, we envisioned building a model program to demonstrate how higher education can serve as a pipeline to diversify STEM fields nationally, but we knew it wouldn’t be sustainable without external resources. This gift will ensure that Howard can train the nation’s brightest students who desire to obtain their Ph.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. for generations to come.”

The Karsh Family Foundation donation comes a month after it was announced that the school received a $4 million gift from the Hopper-Dean Foundation for the Bison STEM Scholars Program.


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