Carnegie Mellon, Ron Brown Scholar Program To Partner on Recruitment of Graduate Students

February 22, 2023

Collaboration aims to attract underrepresented students to CMU Rales Fellows Program

By: Brian Thornton EmailMedia Inquiries

Carnegie Mellon University and the Ron Brown Scholar Program have entered into a new collaboration to identify and engage potential students for the university’s new CMU Rales Fellows Program. The historic new initiative will help build the next generation of national STEM leaders by eliminating cost as a barrier to a graduate education through full tuition and a stipend, and by providing students with a unique ecosystem of holistic development opportunities. Through the partnership, Ron Brown Scholar Program staff members will advise CMU on recruitment strategies and materials, promote the CMU Rales Fellows Program to its current scholars and alumni, and provide advising and mentorship to potential CMU Rales Fellows applicants.

“Connecting with and engaging the most talented prospective graduate students will be key to the CMU Rales Fellows Program’s success and to achieving our goal of developing the next generation of STEM leaders who bring a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and ideas to their future careers,” said Amy Burkert, CMU vice provost for education. “The Ron Brown Scholar Program has been advancing the important work of creating opportunities and expanding access to education for underrepresented communities for more than 25 years, and we are pleased to partner with them to reach students whose goals may be aligned with and advanced through the CMU Rales Fellows Program.”

The Ron Brown Scholar Program is a college scholarship and leadership program that aims to improve the lives of intellectually gifted, community and public service-minded African American students. The nonprofit was established in 1996 by Anthony M. Pilaro to honor the late Ron Brown, who was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

“The Ron Brown Scholar Program is thrilled to partner with the CMU Rales Fellows Program to diversify America’s STEM talent.” — Michael Mallory

“What makes this program so powerful is that it offers a blueprint for providing the financial assistance, holistic support and networking services that are a key to developing future STEM leaders,” said Michael Mallory, president of the Ron Brown Scholar Fund and executive director of the Ron Brown Scholar Program. “The Ron Brown Scholar Program is thrilled to partner with the CMU Rales Fellows Program to diversify America’s STEM talent. Together, we will help meet the demand for leaders from underrepresented communities in these critical fields, foster innovation and enhance the nation’s competitiveness.”

The organization focuses on three initiatives to “support young people who share Ron Brown’s dedication to individual excellence, leadership and public service”:

  • The Ron Brown Scholarship, a national scholarship for low-income African American high school seniors.
  • The Ron Brown — Ruth and Norman Rales Leaders Network, which provides career services and professional development to the top 2-3% of Ron Brown Scholarship applicants.
  • The Guided Pathway Support Program, a free innovative college access initiative for African American high school juniors and seniors and their parents and counselors.

The Ron Brown Scholar Program serves more than 2,000 students annually, including more than 1,000 undergraduates. Nearly 60% pursue STEM majors.

CMU’s partnership with the Ron Brown Scholar Program is part of a robust strategy to engage the best and brightest future STEM leaders who may be strong candidates for the CMU Rales Fellows Program. That strategy includes building on existing relationships and expanding collaborations with the National GEM Consortium, minority-serving institutions and other partners. The first class of students is expected to enroll for fall 2024.