WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance) announced today the establishment of the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Scholars Program, a new partnership improving Hispanic student access to higher education and degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Program is made possible through a $4 million grant from The Merck Company Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the research-based pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. This is the largest grant to date that The Merck Company Foundation has made to the field of Hispanic education.
The Alliance will work with the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) to implement the Program. This partnership builds upon the Alliance's 35-year record of work in the Hispanic community and expertise in supporting youth and improving the science base and the expertise of MISE in improving science education. During the next five years, the Program will provide 50 promising Hispanic high school students from Brownsville, TX; Elizabeth, NJ; and Los Angeles, CA with $42,500 in college scholarships and internship support to pursue STEM degrees. These predominantly Hispanic communities have a history in working with the Alliance and MISE. In addition, 125 Hispanic college students nationwide will receive $2,000 scholarships.
"Building on a distinguished history of Hispanic pioneers in science, a new generation of discovery begins today with this landmark investment of $4 million in Hispanic students," said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, President and CEO of the Alliance today in announcing establishment of the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program. "It gives us great pride to be working with Merck in opening this new phase of the Alliance's innovative Ciencia initiative to support Hispanic students and improve the nation's science base."
"We are pleased to partner with the Alliance on a program that gives these bright and highly qualified students with a passion for the sciences the opportunity to contribute and make a real difference in advancing these fields," said Adam H. Schechter, President, Global Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., Inc. "Merck is a company committed to scientific innovation and helping to develop and mentor scientific talent has been a long-standing, important focus for the Company."
"I know what a positive impact such support can have in your life," said Dr. Lauro F. Cavazos, former U.S. Secretary of Education and a member of the Alliance Board of Directors. "I have no doubt that Alliance/Merck Ciencia Scholars may be the next generation of Nobel prize winners, lab directors, professors, university presidents, and mentors leading scientific discovery that improves our health and well-being."
Today's announcement of a $4 million investment in Hispanic students pursuing STEM studies comes just weeks after an experts meeting of the National Academies, which reported that the U.S. is continuing to fall behind in math and science education and that new resources are needed to "rise above the gathering storm."
According to Dr. Carlo Parravano, Executive Director of the Merck Institute for Science Education, "Investment in scholarships to reduce the financial burden of college, coupled with mentorship and lab experiences, can have a significant impact on students pursuing degrees in a STEM field. Today's announcement is critically important to encourage students to continue their studies and to pursue careers focused on innovation and scientific discovery."
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