Historically Black College (HBCU) Spelman College is now the benefactor of a major grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The women’s college has received a $2-million grant from the Department of Defense to support its continued growth in STEM education. According to the school, the grant money will be used to establish The Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, which will serve as the hub for all STEM undergraduate research and training activities at the college.

“The Center aligns with the College’s strategic priorities and ensures that our students are empowered and equipped to enter competitive STEM fields,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell. “We are honored to be awarded this grant, and to have the support of the Department of Defense in assisting Spelman in fulfilling its mission to diversify STEM.”

Spelman has been focusing on STEM and is one of six “model institutions for excellence” designated by the National Science Foundation for its impressive track record of recruiting, retaining, and graduating minority women in the sciences.” Spellman has increased the number of students pursuing STEM majors has grown over the last three years. 

“In 2017, 26 percent of Spelman students received degrees in STEM compared to 16 percent at other HBCUs and 17 percent at other liberal arts colleges,” Business Journals reported. 

“Spelman has a strong record of educating women in STEM disciplines; however, there is still a lack of representation among women of color in STEM-related careers,” said Dr. Tasha Inniss, Ph.D., associate provost for research.

The new center will address minority under-representation, particularly in computer science, mathematics, and physics.

Spelman also announced the launch an annual Women in STEM Speaker Series as a way to promote learning about data science and artificial intelligence.