The FAMU School of Graduate Studies and Research recently launched one of its most ambitious initiatives since the hugely successful Graduate Feeder Scholars Program. This time FAMU is working to feed graduates of other HBCUs into FAMU's graduate programs.
"It is common for HBCU’s to partner with other institutions for the purposes of helping minority students attain advanced degrees," said Chanta Haywood, dean of FAMU’s School of Graduate Studies and Research. What distinguishes this program from other partnerships is that this consortium consists solely of HBCUs.
FAMU will serve as the lead institution in the new HBCU Graduate Research and Education Program (HGREP). Its role will be to deliver graduate education to recent alumni of other HBCUs. In the long run, this should help FAMU boost its graduate enrollment and boosts its classification from a Carnegie Doctoral Research University to a Research-Intensive University.
Haywood noted that “research shows that minorities who receive their undergraduate degrees from an HBCU are more likely to pursue their graduate degrees at an HBCU as well.” That is precisely why Haywood chose to target the more than 350,000 students at historically black colleges and universities.
“Our best and brightest need not go to majority schools when we have outstanding graduate education right here,” Dean Haywood said. “Dr. [James H.] Ammons has stated that we (HBCUs) must take the lead now to train the students who will not only populate our own graduate programs as students, but who will also remain at our institutions and serve as professors and administrators. This is why we are calling the students James H. Ammons Fellows, because they embody this vision.”
The first recipient of the James H. Ammons Graduate Fellowship is Joane Theodule, a 22 year-old from Pine Hills, Fla., who received her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in public administration from Bethune-Cookman University. Theodule, a native of Haiti, will receive an impressive scholarship offer, which includes the following:
The full cost of tuition and fees for two years;
• A working graduate research assistantship for up to $9,000 per year for two years;
• The full cost of health insurance while they are a research assistant;
• A stipend (where available) to assist with travel to present a paper at a professional conference;
• A stipend (where available) to assist with the cost of research material to carry out your studies; and
• Funds to travel back to their undergraduate institutions as a F.A.C.E.S. Students (FAMU Ambassadors for Continuing Educational Success) to recruit other dynamic scholars.
When asked about her initial reaction to the news that she was selected as an Ammons Fellow, Theodule stated she was in awe.
“I was totally shocked, amazed, overwhelmed and full of joy,” said Theodule. “I am truly blessed.”
Theodule is pursuing her master’s degree in applied social sciences with a concentration in public administration. Her future aspirations are to finish graduate school and start law school in August 2010 at FAMU’s College of Law.