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Elizabeth, NJ Chosen for Alliance/Merck Ciencia (Science) Hispanic Scholars Program

PR Newswire

ELIZABETH, N.J., 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 Elizabeth, NJ; Brownsville, TX; 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."

According to Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, "We need to support a new generation of scientists and mathematicians to develop the kind of advancements that help mankind and to help our nation stay at the top of the curve in the global economy. There are far too many Latino students who have the drive and desire to receive a higher education but lack the financial support to do so. I applaud the Merck Company Foundation for making this investment in our students, in the Latino community and in our nation's future. And I am thrilled that the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Scholars Program will be launched right here in Elizabeth."

"In Elizabeth's schools we teach our students to think, learn, achieve, and care," said Pablo Munoz, Superintendent of the Elizabeth Public Schools. "We are proud that our students are meeting science and math challenges such as an earlier introduction to Algebra and taking advantage of hands-on science education through our Full Option Science System. Now, being one of three districts chosen for the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program, Elizabeth's students who have shown promise for science careers will have the financial, mentorship, and internship support they need to achieve their potential."

Superintendent Munoz emphasized, "Merck has been an critical partner in our Keys to Excellence program and through their employee volunteers and the Merck Institute for Science Education have been important leaders in improving science education in our schools. We are honored that Merck and the Alliance have chosen to take the next step for Elizabeth's students through this substantial investment to support our students' college dreams."

"We are thrilled to participate in the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program and help inform families about this wonderful opportunity and help identify promising students in Elizabeth who will thrive in this life- changing experience," said Teresa Soto-Vega, Executive Director of PROCEED, Inc. "The Scholars program is a wonderful gift to our families, youth, and our community."

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