Leading the largest commitment ever made by The Merck Company Foundation to Hispanic student access to higher education, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance) announced recently that the application period has opened for the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program.
Over the next five years, the program will award 50 promising Hispanic high school students from Brownsville, Texas; Elizabeth, New Jersey; and Los Angeles, California, with $42,500 in college scholarship, mentorship, and summer internship support to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In addition, 125 Hispanic college students nationwide will receive $2,000 scholarships.
“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,” says Dr. Lauro F. Cavazos, former U.S. Secretary of Education and a member of the Alliance Board of Directors.
The Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program is supported by 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 program is being implemented by the Alliance in collaboration with the field-leading Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE).
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 mentorships 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.”
According to Dr. Jane L. Delgado, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, “More than one in five Hispanic college students begin college with an interest in majoring in a STEM field. If we give them the support and opportunity they need, these students will redefine the frontiers of science. Along with the Merck Institute for Science Education, The Merck Company Foundation, and the Alliance’s supporting arm the Health Foundation for the Americas, we are proud to invest in the promise of Hispanic students.”
Students interested in the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program are invited to apply at www.alliancescholars.org. Even before the announcement, hundreds of students from across the United States had requested to be notified of the opening of the program’s application period. The application deadline will be January 16, 2009, and the first class of scholarship recipients will be notified in May of 2009.