Brenda Brand, an associate professor in the School of Educationwas awarded a $1.9 million grant by the National Science Foundation to bridge the gap between recruitment and retention of African Americans and other historically underrepresented doctoral candidates in STEM.

The initiative is administered by the foundation’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), a network of universities dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities obtaining graduate degrees in STEM.

At Virginia Tech, the initiative is called HBCU Instructors Bridge to Academia Project (HIBridge) and comprises two programs, the Bridge to Academia Fellowship Program for doctoral candidates who are instructors at HBCUs, and the Bridge to Academia Faculty Mentoring Program, which provides resources to a faculty cohort interested in supporting the candidates. Other members of the Virginia Tech AGEP team are Brandy Faulkner, co-principal investigator and Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies in the Department of Political Science, and David Kniola, Education.