WSSU’s graduate programs receive $2.4 million boost

An occupational therapy student assists a patient at the Rams Know H.O.W. Mobile Unit. Occupational therapy is one of six WSSU graduate programs that will benefit from a $2.4 million federal grant. (May 2016 file photo)

A $2.4 million federal grant is aiming to increase the number of African American and low-income students in STEM and allied health graduate programs at Winston-Salem State University.

The six-year grant, from the U.S. Department of Education HBCU Graduate Fellowship, will provide scholarships, tutoring, and support for students and faculty in six STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and healthcare graduate programs, said Dr. Peggy Valentine, dean of the School of Health Sciences and principal investigator for the grant.

The grant, which is from 2017-23, already is having an impact, said Dr. Yolanda Edwards, chair and professor of rehabilitation counseling and the co-PI on the grant. For spring semester, the grant funded 38 graduate student fellowships or scholarships.

“The dearth of minorities, especially African Americans, in the STEM and allied health fields is well documented,” Edwards said. “This grant will strengthen graduate education at WSSU and help to attract and retain a diverse population of graduate students. This grant also will help WSSU to address the workforce need for qualified professionals in these high-demand fields.” 

These six WSSU graduate programs will benefit from the grant:

Additional scholarship funding will be available for new students enrolling in these programs in the fall.

The grant also will be used to purchase software to create a virtual anatomy and physiology lab to enhance teaching by creating a 3D learning environment for students. The lab will be housed in WSSU’s $53 million sciences building, which is expected to open in late 2019.

WSSU ranks no. 2 in the University of North Carolina System for highest salary after receiving a graduate degree, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. WSSU offers more than 10 high-value master's and doctoral-level programs. For more information, please visit the Graduate Studies website.

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