Gift to Chancellor’s Science Scholars program to support UNC-Chapel Hill students pursuing careers in STEM

Mar 24, 2021

A $500,000 gift from the Morehead-Cain Foundation to the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program in UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts & Sciences will help develop the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars (CSS) program prepares undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for top graduate programs and careers in STEM through collaborations with world-class researchers. Students in the CSS program also receive mentoring from a cohort of faculty and peers.

Through this gift, combined with a $250,000 matching gift from The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the CSS program will receive a total of $750,000 to support students beginning in the fall 2021 academic semester.

Chuck Lovelace ’77, executive director of the Morehead-Cain Program, said partnering with the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to support the CSS program is a “natural extension of the Morehead-Cain founders’ vision” to enable talented and exceptional students to pursue their academic interests.

“Both Morehead-Cain and the CSS programs select students on the basis of merit and seek young leaders from diverse backgrounds,” the executive director said. Morehead-Cain’s Board of Trustees endorsed the gift as supportive of the Foundation’s mission to enhance and sustain the excellence of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jeliyah Clark, UNC-Chapel Hill alumna ’18, said the faculty mentors she’s met through the program helped clarify her career aspirations in environmental health sciences and provide needed support throughout her undergraduate and graduate experiences.

“I discovered exactly what I was passionate about, and CSS opened a lot of doors for me to pursue those opportunities,” said Clark, now a doctoral student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.  

The Foundation’s gift will help advance the CSS program’s commitment to ensuring that students from every background have a chance to pursue their interests in becoming a STEM scientist or practitioner, said Dr. Thomas Freeman, executive director of the program.

“In order for the country to remain at the forefront of STEM-related research and innovation, opening access for bright students to participate in research is crucial for our success,” said Freeman, a teaching assistant professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill Chemistry Department. “We’re grateful for the Morehead-Cain Foundation’s investment in strengthening the diverse and highly trained STEM leadership of tomorrow.” 

The CSS program is modeled after the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The UMBC program is open to students of all backgrounds who plan to pursue doctoral STEM studies, including individuals who have traditionally been underrepresented in those fields. 


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