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Volume 84 Issue 19 | p. 40 | Promotion
Issue Date: May 8, 2006

New Fellowship Encourages Minorities

Department: Education
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The University of Maryland, the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) have partnered to establish a new fellowship for minority students. The details of the Dolphus E. Milligan Graduate Student Fellowship Award were announced on April 11 at the annual NOBCChE meeting in Los Angeles.

The Milligan Graduate Student Fellowship bears the name of a black chemist who attended Morehouse College before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1957. At UC Berkeley, he worked under the late George C. Pimentel, who frequently stated that Milligan was his best student ever. Milligan joined NIST in 1963 and remained there until his untimely death a decade later.

"Dr. Milligan was one of the top scientists of his generation but still took time to serve as an adviser, confidant, mentor, and friend to many of the African American staff at NIST, including myself," said Willie May, director of the Chemical Science & Technology Laboratory (CSTL) at NIST and a driving force behind the fellowship's creation. He noted that the partnership between NIST and the University of Maryland is one of the activities developed under a 2003 memorandum of understanding between the federal lab and the university.

Lawrence R. Sita, professor and associate dean of faculty, research, and diversity at the University of Maryland, sees this fellowship as a win-win situation for the partners and the students. He told C&EN that the partnership among the three groups makes sense because they all share the goal of "seeking to enhance the status and roles of ethnic minorities in society by providing the environment and opportunities for career advancement through the pursuit of advanced degrees."

The two-year fellowship provides $30,000 per year and a 10-week internship at CSTL during the summer preceding the start of graduate study. Eligible students must be accepted into a graduate program in the chemistry and biochemistry department or the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at the University of Maryland.

The fellow will be selected from a group of five finalists who will be hosted at the annual NOBCChE meeting, where each will give a brief research presentation. In addition to the fellowship, the winner will receive $1,000; the other four finalists will receive $500 each.

"This is the most appropriate thing I can imagine to remember [Milligan] by, because it represents everything that was important to him," said Marilyn E. Jacox, scientist emeritus at NIST and former colleague of Milligan.

The first award will be made at next year's annual NOBCChE meeting in Orlando. Visit www.chem.umd.edu for more information.

 
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