The Vallee Foundation is mindful of the lack of diversity within the scientific research community as a whole and is committed to furthering the careers of historically under-represented minorities. In an initial effort to support the next generation of undergraduate African-American students in STEM fields, we have partnered with the Williams-Franklin Foundation, which is striving to support undergraduates at historically black colleges and universities. Through this partnership the Vallee Foundation provides a six-year pilot grant to provide academic scholarships to STEM students with extreme financial need at historically black colleges and universities. We hope in doing so, these scholarship recipients will graduate and continue in successful careers in the sciences.
In 2021/22, the Vallee Foundation helped support four undergraduates at Dillard University, Florida A&M University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. Nijel Brown, Nya Love, Demarco Smith, and Derrick Webb were in their third or fourth years of undergraduate study in engineering, biology, and chemistry.
In 2022/23, eight undergraduates — Sydnee Haynes, Khloe Kelley, Nya Love, Ashley Prior, Wisdom Talley, David Tinsley, Joshua Wallington, and Derrick Webb - were supported at Dillard University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Tennessee State University. Majors include bioengineering, biology (pre-med), computer science, and nursing.
The program will ramp up to support 12 students per year selected by the Williams-Franklin Foundation through the 2026-2027 academic year.