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Graduate College Receives $500,000 Grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

A close image of the Alma statue.


The Graduate College at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been awarded a $500,000 Creating Equitable Pathways to STEM Graduate Education grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The purpose of the Sloan grant is to support institutional pathways from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to master’s and doctoral degree programs, thereby creating and strengthening inclusive and equitable access to STEM education and careers for historically underrepresented, racially minoritized students.

The grant will fund a new program administered by the Graduate College called Enduring Transfer Pathways to Graduate Education in STEM, created in partnership Grainger College of Engineering and Wilbur Wright College (WWC), one of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC).

“This new grant provides an innovative approach by extending existing pathways into master’s and doctoral programs. Partnering with a community college that is a Hispanic-serving institution increases the visibility of graduate programs to Black, Latinx/a/o, and Indigenous students. We are thrilled to work with the students, faculty, and staff at Wilbur Wright College, which has a focus on engineering and computer science to offer this program,” said Lisa Abston, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Graduate College.

The goal of the two-year grant is to keep young scholars engaged and provide a pathway to advance through higher education and pursue graduate degrees in astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, data science, earth sciences, economics, engineering, marine science, mathematics, physics, and statistics.

“This grant will go very far in supporting our diverse graduates as they pursue higher degrees in STEM education, and we are deeply grateful to the Sloan Foundation for investing in our incredible students,” said Wilbur Wright College President, David Potash. “By offering this generous pathway, we will be more inclusive and better positioned to promote higher scientific success, economic mobility for minorities and greater competitiveness for our country.”

Enduring Pathways also expands on an existing program developed by the Grainger College of Engineering. Since 2012, Grainger’s Engineering Pathways has facilitated partnerships with community colleges throughout the Midwest to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, offering a streamlined transfer experience from community college into a bachelor’s program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

By expanding existing pathways into graduate education through a partnership with Wilbur Wright College, Enduring Transfer Pathways program aims to increase the visibility of graduate education to young scholars and encourage interest in STEM fields.

“It is never too early to start providing students with the opportunity to take advance of graduate education,” said Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. “This grant partners with our colleagues at Wilbur Wright, part of the City Colleges of Chicago, to build the relationship necessary to underscore our commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion.”

Logo for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation






Logo for Wilbur Wright College