The Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson STEM Scholarship Initiative in honor of Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew ‘72
3rd Annual Breakfast to support the Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson STEM
Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson
Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland (UMD). Read full bio...
Inaugural Breakfast Speaker
Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew
Roderic I. Pettigrew, Ph.D., M.D., is the first director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Read full bio...
Dr. Emery N. Brown
Emery N. Brown is the Edward Hood Professor of Medical Engineering and Professor of Computational Neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School; and an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Read full bio...
About the Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson STEM Scholarship Initiative
The need for this nation to produce more high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM") graduates is dramatically increasing. According to U.S. News & World Report, African American men are one of the only minority groups not making steady progress in STEM. "The lack of African American men in STEM is a byproduct of a failing system for African Americans in the overall school system," said Dr. Karl Reid, Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers. In addition to a failing system, and other systemic challenges, lack of financial resources further stagnates the progress of African American men in STEM.
Although African American men are underrepresented in these fields, the number who initially express interest in pursuing careers in STEM is high. Unfortunately, along the pathway to completion of the undergraduate STEM degree, financial challenges add a layer of difficulty that disproportionately decreases the number of successful, male, African American STEM graduates. When these students' studies are disrupted, it compromises the student's mastery of the progressively challenging STEM curriculum. Taking a break from a STEM program, for any reason, can be devastating to the student’s progress.
Understanding such challenges has determined how we shaped the objectives, criteria and award sizes to offer assistance to students who are progressing well in their STEM program. With more than $172,000 raised to date, these awards will continue to keep many students on the pathway to successful completion of STEM degrees, including some who may have taken unwanted detours if not for this award. Acknowledging the transitional challenges facing many students, we restricted our attention to the last two semesters as opposed to the more usual look at cumulative GPA. In this way, students who have demonstrated the ability to achieve academically are awarded the scholarship to allow them a better chance of achieving an undergraduate degree in one of the STEM fields.
Morehouse has had tremendous success at helping students find their passion for STEM by affirming that students can be successful, even if their high school did not adequately prepare them. Our objective in awarding these scholarships is to have the greatest impact on the most worthy of students, which means looking for students who have both need and who demonstrate academic excellence.