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FAIRFAX, Va. (July 16, 2012) – The UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, a partnership of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, and Merck, a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well, today announced that it would award scholarships and fellowships to 37 African American students of biological science and engineering.  In addition to building a pipeline of African American college students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative (UMSI) works to leverage the UNCF-Merck partnership and the talent of UNCF Merck Fellows to help support the pipeline of minority students by engaging and attracting them to STEM subjects as early as elementary school.

Now in its seventeenth year, UMSI is a twenty-year partnership that has supported 627 scholarships and fellowships to promising undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral science students pursuing careers in biomedical research. UNCF Merck Fellows have attended 196 schools, some our nation’s best private and public colleges and universities including ivy league schools like Princeton University, Yale University and Duke University; flagship universities like University of Georgia and University of California, Berkeley and UNCF Member Institutions like Xavier University, Claflin University and Morehouse College.  The UNCF/Merck scholarships and fellowships provide the UMSI scientists and future scientists with financial support, hands-on training, close mentoring and networking relationships, and institutional support.

Support from the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative scholarships targets students entering their final undergraduate year, graduate students in their final two-to-three years of dissertation research, and postdoctoral Fellows continuing their research training. African American students in the life, physical and engineering sciences at American four-year colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the scholarship. In addition to scholarships and fellowships, the UNCF/Merck awards may include funding for the science departments at the colleges and universities they attend.  Undergraduate Fellows receive summer research internships at Merck Research Laboratories, where each Fellow is paired with a Merck mentor who provides valuable research assistance, guidance and support.   To learn more about the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative, visit<>.