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UMD Faculty Awarded ED Grant to Increase Doctoral Degrees in Areas of National Need

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UMD Faculty Awarded ED Grant to Increase Doctoral Degrees in Areas of National Need

Dr. Akua Asa-Awuku

A team of University of Maryland researchers led by Akua Asa-Awuku, associate professor in the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, has received a $447,750 U.S. Department of Education (ED) grant to increase the number of graduate students obtaining doctoral degrees in chemical engineering—an area of national need that addresses seven of the 14 Grand Challenges defined by the National Academy of Engineering.

The nine-year award is part of ED’s Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program—also known as GAANN—which provides fellowships to assist graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their institution’s course study in a field designated as an area of national need.

Asa-Awuku says this grant will help UMD facilitate a graduate educational program that provides consistent funding to increase the future chemical engineering workforce and expertise of U.S citizens with interdisciplinary research areas. She also anticipates that the UMD GAANN fellows will support women and/or those from traditionally underrepresented populations to reflect the growing need for diversity of culture and thought in engineering disciplines.

“The program funded by this grant will provide graduate fellows with a novel education and research experience, because it will leverage established contacts with the federal and state workforce located in Maryland and in Washington, DC,” said Asa-Awuku. “Specifically, research faculty at the A. James Clark School of Engineering and non-academic leading global scientists at government agencies will have the opportunity to mentor GAANN fellows at UMD.”

Asa-Awuku is joined on the project by Peter Kofinas, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Jeff Klauda, associate professor and director of graduate studies of the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; and Ebony Terrell Shockley, associate clinical professor of the College of Education’s Department of Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership.

“Innovative training and professional development approaches for doctoral-level engineers are needed at a national and global level,” Terrell Shockley said. “In addition to broadening the pipeline for chemical engineers, the program is designed to engage the GAANN fellows in outreach projects with opportunities to lead, instruct, and inspire a new generation of scientists.”

March 26, 2019


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