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Texas Southern University is the beneficiary of a $2.66 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help increase the number of minorities pursuing academic careers in data engineering and data science disciplines.

According to a Texas Southern statement,  Rice University and the University of Houston are also part of the five-year program called the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Strengthening Training and Resources for Inclusion in Data Engineering and Sciences (STRIDES).

“We can’t overstate how important this project is,” said the grant’s principal investigator, Reginald DesRoches (second from right in the photo).

DesRoches is dean of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and a professor of civil and environmental engineering and of mechanical engineering.

“Although the grant is focused on getting more underrepresented minority Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellows into academia, this will have a direct impact on diverse undergraduates pursuing degrees in the data engineering and data science fields,” he said.

The project will work in tandem with another AGEP grant to Rice, Georgia Tech, Florida A&M University and the University of Colorado focused on advancing under-represented minority postdoctoral researchers into faculty positions.

“This project award arrives at the right time,”  said TSU computer science professor Wei  Wayne Li (right). “With the nation addressing a gap between the underrepresented minority (URM) and non-URM undergraduate and graduate students, and with our universities and colleges struggling to recruit, retain and promote URM STEM faculty.” Li is a director of the NSF Center for Research on Complex Networks based at Texas Southern University.

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