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Federal Grant to UMD Faculty to Address National Need for More Chemical Engineering Ph.D.s

By Maryland Today Staff

UMD researchers led by Akua Asa-Awuku, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, have received a $447,750 U.S. Department of Education grant to increase the number of graduate students obtaining doctoral degrees in chemical engineering—an area of national need that addresses seven of the 14 Grand Challenges defined by the National Academy of Engineering.

The nine-year award is part of the federal agency’s Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, which provides fellowships to assist graduate students with excellent records who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue the highest degree available in their institution’s course of study in a field designated as an area of national need.

Asa-Awuku said the grant will help UMD facilitate a graduate educational program with consistent funding to increase the chemical engineering workforce and expertise of U.S citizens with interdisciplinary research areas. She also anticipates that the UMD GAANN fellows will support women and/or those from traditionally underrepresented populations to reflect the growing need for diversity of culture and thought in engineering disciplines.

Asa-Awuku is joined on the project by Peter Kofinas, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Jeff Klauda, associate professor and director of graduate studies of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; and Ebony Terrell Shockley, associate clinical professor in the College of Education.

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