TMCF Vivian Burey Marshall STEM Pilot Initiative Wraps Up Successful First Year Now Accepting Applications for Second Cohort

WASHINGTON, DC – September 27, 2016—Today, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) Vivian Burey Marshall (VBM) STEM Pilot Initiative announces fifty 6th through 9th grade students in Vicksburg, Miss. and Baltimore, Md. completed the first year of the STEM Pilot Initiative launched last September. During this first year the students learned about and were exposed to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), due to the partnership between the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the U.S. Army.

The Vivian Burey Marshall STEM Pilot Initiative, one of TMCF’s newest K-12 initiatives, was designed to bolster the participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields. Fifty students at program sites, Baltimore and Vicksburg, will receive ongoing out-of-school support around in-demand disciplines, working with student mentors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) within TMCF’s network of member-schools, as well as U.S. Army scientists and engineers to increase their exposure to these critical fields. Over the next four years, these students will have access to university and Army facilities and a collection of programs and experiences that will support their development in hopes of nurturing a life-long love of STEM. The program also fits directly into the goals set by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, whose recently unveiled strategic plan emphasizes a need to increase STEM participation among underrepresented minorities and women.

“The VBM Initiative allows us to significantly influence the talent in the STEM pipeline earlier by working with students at a time when they are developing skills that will dictate their options in college and the workforce,” said Dawna Taylor-Thornton, the principal investigator & executive director of the Vivian Burey Marshall STEM Pilot Initiative for TMCF. “By working closely with the Army and other industry experts, TMCF is able to ensure that our scholars are adequately prepared to compete for careers in STEM that are in high demand.”

Students participated in laboratory demonstrations, math enrichment, online coding classes, and engineering activities with faculty from Coppin State and Morgan State universities in Baltimore and Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS. Students visited Nissan to gain exposure to careers in automotive engineering; the National Weather Service, where they participated in a balloon drop; and the Maryland Science Center and National Air and Space Museum, where they enjoyed opportunities to experiment with and view expanded exhibits on the principles they learned in the labs.

Taylor-Thornton said she is most excited the program is reaching students in underprivileged and underrepresented communities who could most benefit from the exposure and guidance it provides.

“Oftentimes, the best educational opportunities are provided to students who don’t necessarily need programs like VBM because they are already engaged in activities within their schools and communities,” she said. “For several years, TMCF has been working to build a solid pipeline of talent to increase minority presence in STEM fields.”

TMCF is pleased with the progress of the program in year one and very excited to see the program grow as it enters its second year. Applications are now being accepted for the second cohort of Vivian Burey Marshall Scholars. Visit, for more information on how to apply.


About Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), established in 1987 is named for the U.S. Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice. TMCF represents all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and its member-schools include the 47 publicly-supported HBCUs. With TMCF member-schools educating 80% of all students attending HBCUs, TMCF helps students with a clear intention to succeed acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF also efficiently connects high performing, world-ready students with top tier employment opportunities—access that students or employers might not have on their own. Through its scholarships and programs, TMCF plays a key role in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit: