Clark Atlanta University (CAU) has made history as the first HBCU to receive a $10 million award from the National Science Foundation to help establish the National Data Science Alliance (NDSA).
According to a CAU release, “the NDSA will increase the number of Black people earning data science credentials by at least 20,000 by 2027 and expand data science research that advocates for social justice and strives to eliminate bias.”
To accomplish this, the NDSA will encourage industry and academic collaboration across all HBCUs. It aims to broaden participation and advance social justice in data science.
“This is a monumental accomplishment for the HBCU community as a whole, and we at Clark Atlanta University are deeply honored to perpetuate the institutional mission through data science,” CAU President George T. French Jr., Ph.D., said in a statement. “Clark Atlanta University has deep roots in conducting data science research that promotes equity, including the seminal works of scholar and former faculty member WEB Du Bois on these hallowed grounds. This historic award exemplifies our commitment to ensuring competitive advantage for students to succeed and excel in our data-driven society.”
Talitha Washington is the lead and principal investigator of the grant and the lead organizer for the NDSA. A mathematics professor at CAU, Washington, also serves as director of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Data Science Initiative. Washington said she’s excited at the thought of engaging more HBCUs and building a community to accelerate the preparation of students in data science. Washington added the program would discover solutions for data-oriented problems that impact the lives of Black Americans and people.
“We are excited that many HBCUs will collaborate with us to develop new equity-based discoveries in data science and expand student pathways that will change the face of data science,” Washington added.
The NDSA is supported by the AUC consortium, led by: Michael Hodge, and will bring systemic change by engaging more than 1,000 HBCU faculty members to create equity-based data science ecosystems, allowing all systems to learn and thrive.