Carnegie Mellon University announced today a $116 million donation from the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation to help underrepresented students pursue graduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The university, located in Pittsburgh, will add $34 million to the private foundation’s gift to establish the CMU Rales Fellows Program, which will provide full tuition and a stipend to students enrolling in select master’s degree and doctoral programs. The first student cohort will enroll in fall 2024, with an expected 86 fellows to be added each year.
The university’s announcement states that the “intended beneficiaries of the program are candidates from low socio-economic backgrounds, first-generation college students, graduates of minority-serving institutions and other groups who remain underrepresented in STEM.”
The announcement cited a previous National Science Foundation report calling for greater representation of women and Black and Hispanic scholars in STEM fields to help expand the nation’s domestic talent pool. The Vision 2030 report stated that Black and Hispanic people working in science and engineering jobs “remain underrepresented compared to their proportion in the general population,” and that women made up just 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce as of 2017.
“At the heart of the CMU Rales Fellows Program is a commitment to remove existing barriers and empower this next generation of domestic talent so they can apply their skills and ingenuity to realize new scientific and technological breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity,” the university’s president, Farnam Jahanian, said in the announcement.