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MCLA Receives American Institute of Physics Grant
08:01AM / Tuesday, February 06, 2024
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass.—Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announced it has received $110,351 from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Foundation through its TEAM-UP Together Expanding Expertise, Championing Excellence & Leadership (TUT EXCEL) program. 
Over the next two years, this funding will advance the College's efforts to increase its African American physics student enrollment, increase African American students' sense of department belonging, and introduce systemic changes to the physics bachelor of arts degree program to ensure positive outcomes for the department's African American students. 
"The Physics Department is deeply grateful to be recipients of the AIP funded TUT EXCEL grant," said MCLA Associate Professor and Chair of the Physics Department Dr. Kebra Ward. "This significant funding opportunity enables us to directly support our current and future African American students in ways that we previously could not. We will expand attendance at national conferences for students and provide additional professional development opportunities for faculty. We will fund more events through the MCLA chapter of the Society of Physics Students and provide material support, such as computers and books, for our African American students.  
The AIP Foundation grant will allow MCLA to implement four main initiatives: a specialized recruitment campaign, a revised corequisite model ensuring all students have a path to the degree, strategic external partnerships, and on-campus activities. 
The TUT EXCEL program's objectives align with MCLA's mission to make opportunities provided by higher education accessible to underrepresented populations, according to a press release. MCLA is nationally ranked for its impact on social mobility. The proportion of ALANA students — about 1 in 4, with 8 percent total identifying as African American — further demonstrates the College's commitment to diversity. As one of 11 public liberal arts colleges across the country offering a degree in physics, MCLA has a history of graduating first generation, Pell eligible, and ALANA students, and coaching those students through the job and graduate school application processes. 
"We've even started a speaker series," said Ward. "Most significantly, we'll be able to engage future physics majors with new outreach initiatives. We're committed to leveraging this grant to nurture a thriving, inclusive physics community at MCLA and empower future generations of African American physicists." 
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