Simons Foundation, Stony Brook University Partner to Improve Diversity in STEM Fields

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Simons Foundation, Stony Brook University Partner to Improve Diversity in STEM Fields

Stony Brook University has announced a major new initiative funded by the Simons Foundation and its sister foundation, Simons Foundation International, that will vastly bolster and improve the pathway to STEM careers for underrepresented students at the university.

With a $56.6 million gift from the Simons Foundation, the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program will help train the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders, providing scholarships, housing and stipends to 50 new students each year.

“We could not be more excited and grateful to enter this new partnership with the Simons Foundation. The Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program will allow young people to reach their potential as they bring new, much-needed diversity of perspective to science and innovation,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “At any given time, we will have 200 future STEM leaders on our campus, forging their way in the STEM fields and setting the stage for future generations of students to follow in their footsteps. I cannot wait to welcome our first cohort to Stony Brook in 2023.”

“We need scientists and mathematicians who are reflective of our diverse world, and the scientific and educational communities must work together to find, train, and support underrepresented scientists and mathematicians,” said Simons Foundation President David Spergel. “That’s why the foundation is making its largest investment yet in diversity through the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program. Stony Brook University has shown a real commitment already to access and opportunity. They’re our ideal partners in this.” 

“We’re proud to see the foundation taking steps to increase diversity in STEM fields,” said Jim and Marilyn Simons, co-founders and co-chairs of the Simons Foundation. “The support network, tight-knit community, and sense of belonging that students will find in this program will be life-changing. We’re incredibly proud to be part of a program like this, with positive implications not just for Stony Brook, but for New York State and the broader scientific and mathematical communities.” 

Launching in Fall 2023, the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program will welcome 50 students each year, with support including:

  • Dedicated on-campus housing, where for the first two years of the program, students will live together in an environment that fosters collaboration and support;
  • Internship and research opportunities and stipends, enabling students to pursue extracurricular learning experiences to supplement their STEM coursework and bolster their graduate school applications;
  • A Summer Bridge Program for incoming freshmen, where students will acclimate to Stony Brook and become part of the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholar community before formal coursework begins, meet the mentors and advisors who will support and guide them and become acquainted with their peers

In addition, Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars students will receive:

  • Four years of scholarship support that will fully cover the educational costs for each and every student in the program
  • Academic and career advising
  • Peer and faculty mentoring
  • Community-building activities
  • Networking opportunities and support
  • Stipends for program-related travel and study abroad opportunities
  • Alumni support and outreach
  • Access to off-campus learning and research opportunities at state-of-the-art research facilities Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory), both close partners of Stony Brook

“The power of this gift is that it is not dedicated to existing programmatic or budget needs; rather, it will exclusively support hundreds of Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars students,” said Justin Fincher, Stony Brook University Vice President for Advancement. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a generous philanthropic partner in the Simons Foundation that understands the strength of that kind of support and is deeply committed to building this program alongside our team...

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