By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

The Howard University Bison STEM Scholars Program – a multi-year program that provides full undergraduate scholarships to students who have committed to pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)- is gearing up for its third cohort of incoming freshman.

Cohort 3 is comprised of 30 students, representing 12 states, who were selected through a competitive program with strict eligibility requirements for high-achieving students. The average SAT score of the cohort is 1384 and an average ACT score of 30.

The Bison STEM Scholars are headed to Berlin, Germany as part of Howard University’s three-year partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). (Courtesy Photo)

“The Bison STEM Scholars Program  (BSSP) is designed for focused students who from Day One have committed to going the distance to pursue their terminal degrees,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA in a press release. “This program will help them achieve those goals and stay on target by grouping them alongside like-minded individuals so iron can sharpen iron.”

In order to address the lack of minorities in STEM careers, Frederick along with Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., initiated development of Bison STEM Scholars Program nearly three years ago. With Cohort 3 joining the elite mix, the program now enrolls 87 of the University’s students.

“These students represent the diversity that is necessary to address some of the most critical scientific and societal challenges of our times,” Wutoh said.  “They are among the brightest and most gifted students in the country, and we look forward to the great things that they will accomplish as scientists, researchers and research-based clinicians.” 

As part of BSSP, Cohort 3 will participate in the Summer Bridge Program (SBP), which helps scholars as they transition from high school to a university setting and encourages building within the group.  Students are required to take six-weeks of courses in calculus and African American studies for credit, along with seminars in chemistry, German and college success. Also, BSSP scholars are encouraged to begin exploring STEM disciplines in order to narrow their education and future career goals.

In addition to the summer courses and academic preparation, for the second consecutive year, the incoming cohort will take a two-week trip to Berlin, Germany from July 27- August 10.  The trip is part of a three-year partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and aligns with some of the goals of BSSP, such as expanding the scholars’ opportunities and building a global perspective in an increasingly diversifying world, according to BSSP Program Director Ronald H. Smith.

“For most of our scholars, the trip to Berlin, Germany will mark the first time that the have traveled out of the country,” Smith said in a press release. “There are many cultural, political and social differences between life in the United States and other countries.  However, we believe that the frequency with which we join with others from around the world to solve vexing global challenges will increase over time. The sooner that our scholars learn how to understand, tolerate and bridge those differences, the better prepared they will be to be STEM leaders on the global stage.”

The group will live at the CIEE Global Institute, located in center city Berlin, and will attend classes from 9 a.m. until noon before taking trips related to expanding their worldview and catering to their interests in STEM. 

As part of the Seminar in Intercultural Communication and Global Public Health, developed by BSSP and CIEE, students will create a group research project which focuses on a global health challenge and present their research and findings while in Berlin.