Vanderbilt joins STEMM Opportunity Alliance; Provost attends White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence 


Vanderbilt Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver represented the university at the White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence in Washington, D.C. The Dec. 12 summit, hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, marked the launch of the STEMM Opportunity Alliance 

The SOA was established to be a pipeline to bring members of underrepresented communities into the U.S. STEMM workforce. Vanderbilt University is partnering with SOA and committing to expanding opportunities for its diverse student population.   

“Today was an incredible chance to hear so many inspiring leaders from across sectors at today’s White House Summit on STEMM Equity and Excellence and official launch of the STEMM Opportunity Alliance; we are so honored to join this landmark effort,” Raver said. “Creating greater opportunity for Americans from underrepresented groups and who are missing from the STEMM workforce is essential for a thriving U.S. economy. Universities are key to that effort. That’s why Vanderbilt currently has more than $62 million in federal grants and $4.6 million in our own investments aimed at increasing diversity and equity in STEMM. I’m in agreement with the White House’s National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who noted today that innovation is a team sport, and we can’t win with so many players on the bench.” 

In recent examples of Vanderbilt’s work toward that end, the university was awarded a $1M grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and more than $30 million in federal and university investments is helping to build faculty-led STEMM training and development initiatives across its undergraduate and graduate STEMM programs. These programs are designed to introduce, fund, support and mentor undergraduates into STEMM-related research opportunities and expand their options for graduate and career research.   

Vanderbilt also continues to partner with Fisk University through the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, which aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students engaged in Ph.D.-level STEMM research. The program’s leader, Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, received the 2022 Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science  

According to its webpage, SOA will address key areas to attain fundamental, systemic change and ensure the diversity that is necessary for the increased performance and innovative ideas that are needed to keep the United States competitive.  

Other SOA partners include 3M, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the American Institute of Physics, DuPont, Henry Luce Foundation, Merck, Microsoft, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and more.