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History

1988

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program begins with generous support from Robert and Jane Meyerhoff to provide financial assistance, mentoring, advising, and research experience to African American male undergraduate students committed to obtaining Ph.D. degrees in math, science, and engineering.

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Robert and Jane Meyerhoff

1989

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program enrolls its first class of students, the M1 cohort of 19 freshmen.

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The first cohort of Meyerhoff Scholars, pictured with Mr. Meyerhoff (right) and Susan Boyer (center), former director of the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program

1990

Women are first admitted to the program.

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Some of the first female Meyerhoff graduates

Apple Computers, Inc., donates a computer to each member of the M3 cohort. The company also donated computers for the M4 and M5 cohorts.

1992

The M4 cohort earns a 4.0 GPA across the board during their Summer Bridge classes.

The Meyerhoff Parent Association is initiated by a group of M1, M2, and M3 parents, including original board members Carolyn King, Isabelle McCants, McCauley Stancil, Edy Brooks, Dr. Sidney Jones, Kathy Chase, and Shirley Watkins.

1993

The first class of Meyerhoff Scholarship Program graduates goes on to graduate and professional programs at Northwestern, Princeton, Penn State, North Carolina State University, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

The Eli Lilly Company sponsors two students from Indiana, the first Meyerhoff Scholars to come to UMBC from outside of Maryland.

UMBC awards Mr. Meyerhoff an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

1994

Working with UMBC Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Dr. Michael Summers, Chianna Paschall M4, chemistry, creates a model of one of the dozens of proteins that make up the HIV virus. Her model is featured on the cover of the November issue of the Journal of Molecular Biology.

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Chianna Paschall and Dr. Michael Summers,
UMBC Magazine, Summer 1995

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program creates an ongoing partnership with Dr. Thomas R. Cech, 1989 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, through which students complete research internships at his University of Colorado laboratory.

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Dr. Thomas Cech poses with M4 Nefertiti Harmon.

1995

Dr. Kenneth Maton, professor of psychology, and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski publish their first study based on the Meyerhoff Scholars’ experiences, “Enhancing the success of African-American students in the sciences: Freshman year outcomes,” in School Science and Mathematics.

1996

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program is opened to people of all backgrounds committed to increasing the representation of minorities in science and engineering.

UMBC receives the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Bill Clinton.

Damon Tweedy (M4) is the first Meyerhoff Scholar to graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

1997

The Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program begins, focusing on promoting cultural diversity in the biomedical sciences at the graduate level.

A gift from the Meyerhoff Foundation establishes The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Chair in Biochemistry at UMBC and biological sciences professor Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg is the first honored to hold this position.

Diversity in Higher Education, Volume 1 publishes, “The recruitment and retention of talented African-Americans in science: The role of mentoring,” by Dr. Charles Woolston, Dr. Hrabowski, and Dr. Maton.

UMBC begins its partnership with The Leadership Alliance, a consortium of more than thirty of the nation’s leading research and teaching academic institutions.

1998

Oxford University Press publishes, Beating the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Males, based on research about the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program and co-authored by Dr. Hrabowski, Dr. Maton, and Dr. Geoffrey Greif.

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1999

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program celebrates its tenth anniversary.

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Alumni of the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at the 2000 Reunion.

2000

Chester Hedgepeth (M1), biological sciences, becomes the first African American student to receive an M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and the first Meyerhoff Scholar to achieve the degree.

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program begins an international partnership through the Fogarty MIRT Grant with Lancaster University in England, allowing students to participate either in a one-year exchange program or a summer research opportunity.

Dr. Summers receives the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in recognition of the substantive undergraduate research opportunities Meyerhoff Scholars and others obtain in his HHMI laboratory.

The Journal of Research in Science Teaching publishes, “African-American college students excelling in the sciences: College and postcollege outcomes in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program,” by Dr. Maton, Dr. Hrabowski, and C.L. Schmitt.

2002

Overcoming the Odds: Raising Academically Successful African American Young Women, based on research about the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, is co authored by Dr. Hrabowski, Dr. Maton, Dr. Monica Greene, and Dr. Greif.

The Today Show features a segment about the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program.

2003

Crystal Watkins (M3), biological sciences, finishes her M.D./Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first female Meyerhoff Scholar to achieve the degree.

BEST (Building Engineering and Science Talent) cites the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program for its exceptional “Institutional Leadership” in a report to the United States Congress of best practices among university programs leading the way in training minorities in the sciences.

A gift by the Meyerhoff Foundation establishes the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Science Fund to support teaching and research in the life sciences at UMBC.

2005

The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Chemistry Building is dedicated in recognition of the Meyerhoffs generosity and commitment to the universal benefits of education.

Dr. Hrabowski and Dr. Summers are invited by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to discuss the success of the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at a Symposium on Diversity in the Sciences, held at Harvard University. The following year, they speak again at the University of Louisiana Monroe and the University of Washington.

2006

In an editorial titled, “Why American College Students Hate Science,” the New York Times points to UMBC as an innovator in turning American college students into scientists.

Dr. Hrabowski and Dr. Summers co-author a report entitled  “Preparing Minority Students and Engineers” for Science magazine.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards UMBC a $2.2 million teaching grant to further develop the HHMI Scholars Program, a science education initiative that focuses on students from diverse backgrounds.

2007

Isaac Matthews M15, mechanical engineering, a star on the UMBC Track and Field team, is named Arthur Ashe Male Sports Scholar of the Year by Diverse magazine. He is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering at MIT.

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Isaac Matthews (M15), Arthur Ashe Male Sports Scholar of the Year

The Civil Rights Project at UCLA publishes, “Opening an African-American STEM Program to talented students of all races: Evaluation of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, 1991-2005,” by Dr. Maton, Dr. Hrabowski, and M. Ozdemir.

2008

Ebony magazine features Kafui Dzirasa (M8), chemical engineering, in its “30 on the Rise” collection of 2008 Young Leaders of the Future. The magazine cited several of his UMBC achievements, including his studies as a Meyerhoff Scholar and a conference championship in the long jump. Ebony also noted that he received Duke’s Somjen Award for Outstanding Dissertation Thesis.

As of Spring 2008, 200 Meyerhoff Scholarship Program alumni have completed graduate degrees at prestigious universities across the nation. This group of graduates includes 50 who have earned Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D degrees, more than 50 M.D.s, and nearly 100 who have earned master’s or professional degrees in engineering and other STEM-related fields. An additional 250 alumni are currently enrolled in graduate and professional schools.

 

2009

As of February 2009:Alumni from the program have earned 65 Ph.D.s, 22 M.D./Ph.D.s and 65 M.D.s. Thirty-eight of these Ph.D.s have been awarded between 2005 and the first half of 2008. Meyerhoff graduates have received these degrees from such institutions as Harvard, Stanford, Duke, the University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T., Berkeley, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Rice, NYU, and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Over 85 additional alumni have earned graduate degrees in Engineering, and nearly 300 alumni are currently enrolled in graduate and professional degree programs.

The program is having a dramatically positive impact on the number of minority students succeeding in STEM fields; students were 5.3 times more likely to have graduated from or be currently attending a STEM Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program than those students who were invited to join the program but declined and attended another university .”

2010

Benyam Kinde (M18) was selected as valedictorian of the UMBC Class of 2010.  Dina Popovkina (M18) was selected as salutatorian of the UMBC Class of 2010.  Carla Valenzuela (M18) received a nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship.  Nathaniel Kim (M19) received the Goldwater Scholarship.

2011

UMBC was featured on 60 Minutes in a segment entitled “Hrabowski: An Educator Focused on Math and Science.” The segment, which aired on November 13, 2011, featured interviews with Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and Meyerhoff alumni and current students. Click on links below to view segments.

Hrabowski: An educator focused on math and science

Reaching about the ceiling (featuring Meyerhoff alumnus, Dr. Kafui Dzirasa)

Remembering the Children’s March

Getting beyond the grades

Hrabowski: “Education transforms lives”

2012

Thirteen students received an Office of Undergraduate Education Research Awards.  Nineteen students were recognized as members of Tau Beta Pi.  Thirty students were inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.  Eleven students inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society.  Thirteen students were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.  Twenty-three students completed the academic year with a 4.0 GPA.

2013

Now celebrating its 25th year, the Meyehoff Scholars Program boasts more than 800 graduates, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers as scientists, researchers, engineers and doctors. In a story entitled  “Where Are They Now?” in the August issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the magazine highlights the successes of six Meyerhoff alumni.