The Hamill Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the University of Houston-Downtown to help support the UHD Office of Veterans Services and Scholars Academy.
“The Hamill Foundation award will support critical initiatives in two successful UHD programs and further our commitment to student success,” said Johanna Wolfe, UHD Vice President for Advancement and External Relations.
Veterans Services will receive $25,000 to provide scholarships and professional development workshops. The Scholars Academy will receive $25,000 to support peer mentors and training for peer mentors working with students in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Wolfe said.
G.I. Jobs Magazine recently recognized UHD as a “Military Friendly” school for the second year citing its willingness to embrace service members and veterans as students. UHD has more than 400 veterans attending classes and a survey last year showed that nearly all of them are employed and more than half are working more than 40 hours a week.
“A job requiring a large time commitment can negatively affect a student’s ability to earn a degree in a timely manner,” Wolfe said. “Scholarships can provide the additional financial support veteran students need to stay on track to graduation.”
Of the grant award, $20,000 will be used for scholarships – 10 scholarships of $2,000 – and $5,000 will be used to provide career preparation workshops for veterans.
UHD’s Scholars Academy is a nationally recognized, academically competitive program that promotes student success in STEM fields. A Scholars Academy goal is to increase the number of minority students who graduate with degrees in STEM fields and who choose to pursue graduate or professional degrees after competing their bachelor’s degrees. The program is academically demanding and students receive scholarships and other stipends to lessen the need for off-campus employment, Wolfe said.
“The program is successful, in part, because of the supportive atmosphere the Scholars Academy maintains through mentors once a student enters,” Wolfe said. “The $25,000 Hamill Foundation award will be used to support 15 student peer mentors, a senior peer mentor, a peer mentor coordinator and a training workshop for peer mentors.”