TMCF and U.S. Army Partner to Increase STEM Literacy for Underrepresented and Disadvantaged Youth

Baltimore, MD and Vicksburg, MS to Host Program Sites

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 24, 2015) – Today the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announces the award of a $5.7 million multi-year grant from the U.S. Army to engage K-12 students from underrepresented and disadvantaged populations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The award will support the launch of the Vivian Burey Marshall STEM Program (VBM Program), a four-year pilot designed to support middle school students with year-round, out-of-school-time activities. The VBM Program will feature increasingly sophisticated challenges that will encourage students to develop progressively advanced STEM literacy and competency.

Named in honor of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s first wife, Vivian Burey Marshall, the VBM Program will follow a cohort of students from sixth through tenth grade. The program will connect participants with U.S. Army researchers near program sites in Baltimore, MD and Vicksburg, MS, leveraging existing relationships between local Army facilities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCU students will also have the opportunity to mentor program participants.

“Our partnership with the U.S. Army builds on nearly three decades of TMCF’s engagement in post-secondary education,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF President & CEO. “This program will help us reach students earlier in their development – in K-12 – when many self-select out of challenging STEM careers.”

The VBM Program enhances TMCF’s working relationship with the Department of Defense (DoD) on diversification of the workforce. U.S. Army STEM programs, collectively known as the Army Educational Outreach Program, are administered by the scientists and engineers of the U.S. Army Science & Technology (S&T) Enterprise. The U.S. Army S&T Enterprise consists of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Research Institute, U.S. Army Research and Development Command, and the U.S. Army Space Missile Defense Command.

TMCF began working in the K-12 sector in 2006 with a school reform program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This early effort evolved into one of TMCF’s signature programs, the Teacher Quality & Retention Program (TQRP), in 2009. TQRP has trained over 200 Program Fellows since inception, impacting over 1,500 K-12 students annually in high-needs school districts across 22 states. The VBM Program will expand TMCF’s footprint within the K-12 sector, utilizing current wrap-around services offered by TMCF, such as scholarships, pedagogical approaches, creative programming, mentorship, and leadership development.

Note: TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. is available for additional comments.


TMCF is named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow. For more information on TMCF, visit us at