FAMU Leads the Way in Diversity and Preparing Future STEM Trailblazers
By Kanya Stewart
In keeping with its motto, “Excellence with Caring,” Florida A&M University (FAMU) is committed to student success and preparing its graduates for impact in the 21st-century global economy. Its dedication to developing the whole student through its tradition of academic excellence, experiential learning, student-centered programs, and unprecedented research endeavors is being heralded by national publications and ranking organizations. Under the leadership of Interim President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., FAMU continues its rich legacy of providing access and opportunity to thousands of bright young minds hailing from 70 different countries and nations.
Appointed interim president in September 2016, Robinson is wearing multiple hats and playing a hands-on role in student achievement. As a distinguished professor and researcher, he is working directly with student-researchersas he leads the newly developed, $15.4 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems at FAMU.
The center’s programs give future scientists access and exposure to NOAA, varied research disciplines, and focuses on building a workforce that is more diverse and inclusive. No less than 50 percent of the funding will be used to support students over the course of five years. The center consists of FAMU professors representing diverse disciplines, and research partners include Bethune-Cookman University, California State University – Monterey Bay, Jackson State University, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, and the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley.
“I continue to be amazed by the ability of our faculty to garner competitive research awards, most of which provide support for graduate and undergraduate students making both groups more competitive in the job market and making undergraduates the target of top graduate and professional programs around the country,” said Robinson. “This is why the National Science Foundation listed FAMU as the No.1 HBCU in the nation for research and development expenditures.”
FAMU’s important role in diversifying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related industries was recently on display when the University signed an agreement with global defense and security company Northrop Grumman and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to disburse nearly $400,000 in funding to 24 deserving students over the next three years.
True to its name, FAMU also landed in the No. 1 spot for African Americans earning a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. The University also was named the No. 3 producer of bachelor’s degrees for African Americans in allied health and related sciences, the No. 4 producer of bachelor’s degrees for African Americans in health and medical administrative services, and the No. 4 producer of bachelor’s degrees for African Americans in architecture and related services.
According to Robinson, these rankings are just one example of the high-quality programs FAMU offers its students. Laying out his plans for the future of FAMU during the University’s recent Founders’ Day observance in October, Robinson explained before a full auditorium of students, employees, alumni, and supporters, that he is committed to ensuring the dreams of students both near and far do not go unrealized.