New grant to allow study of African-American participation in physics, astronomy

December 6, 2016

Cole, Slaughter have received a $100,000 grant to lead workshop

"10,9...3,2,1, lift off" via U.S. Air Force/Flickr Creative Commons

“10,9…3,2,1, lift off” via U.S. Air Force/Flickr Creative Commons


The National Science Foundation has awarded a $100,000 Education and Human Resources (HER) Core Research Grant to two professors of education at the USC Rossier School of Education.

Associate Professor Darnell Cole

Associate Professor Darnell Cole

Associate Professor Darnell Cole, the principal investigator, and Professor John Brooks Slaughter, the co-principal investigator, will use the grant to focus on African-American workforce development in physics and astronomy careers. The NSF announced the grant in November.

Over the past year, Cole, in conjunction with Christopher B. Newman, an assistant professor at University of San Diego, have cultivated a meaningful relationship with the National Society for Black Physicists. Now with the support of the NSF, this partnership has spurred the development of a convening of experts at the 2017 NSBP Annual Conference.

Utilizing a “strengths based, pathway model,” 25 experts from PK-12, higher education, and industry will gather to create action plans that will address the systemic, institutional, and individual factors that impact career pathways.

The overarching goal of the pre-conference workshop is to identify evidence-based approaches to enhance the quality of preparation and to identify gatekeepers and critical leverage points for effective interventions.

Professor John Brooks Slaughter

Professor John Brooks Slaughter

The other goal is to develop a new research agenda to build on understanding of African-American participation in physics and astronomy, as well as to discuss strategies for more rigorous evaluations of programs geared toward supporting African-American participation in physics and astronomy.

The grant represents an opportunity to further the USC Rossier School of Education mission by developing collaborative solutions to real world challenges that impact urban education.

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For media inquiries, please contact Ross Brenneman at rossbren@rossier.usc.edu or (213) 740-2327.