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NEW HOMELAND SECURITY SCHOLARS AND FELLOWS PROGRAM GRANT AWARDS

07-23-2003

Nearly 2,500 Applications Result in Approximately 100 Award Winners

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will announce this week approximately 100 recipients of highly competitive awards under the new Homeland Security Scholars and Fellows Program.  Beginning in the Fall 2003, the Department will award the selected recipients with stipends and tuition for either 2-year undergraduate scholarships or 3-year graduate student fellowships.  In addition, awardees will be offered 8-10 week internship opportunities.

Through this education program, DHS will support the growth and mentoring of the next generation of scientists as they study ways to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America?s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recovery efforts from attacks that occur. The Homeland Scholars and Fellows Program is open to all students interested in pursuing scientific and technological innovations that can be applied to the DHS mission.

"The prevention of terrorist attacks in the United States relies on the efforts of many individuals," said Secretary Tom Ridge. "The DHS Scholarship Program will produce talented and experienced scientists and engineers that will play vital roles in securing America against terrorism."

Students across the country submitted applications to receive scholarship awards for degrees that range from life sciences to social sciences. DHS received over 4,000 letters of intent and nearly 2,500 full applications for review.  The applications were reviewed by over 100 experts selected from a variety of fields that included physical, biological, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, mathematics, or computer science.  Award winners will be contacted this week and acceptances are due by the end of July.  Students from engineering disciplines comprised about one-third of the awards followed by computer science and math, psychology and social sciences.  Men and women were almost equally represented as award recipients.

Funding for this program will be up to $2 million dollars for fiscal year 2003.  In addition, DHS has proposed doubling its funding for fiscal year 2004, with a commitment to increase the number of scholarship and fellowship awards for next year.  In addition, the Homeland Security Scholars and Fellows Program will be expanded to provide internships and specialized fellowships for students and faculty to further their knowledge of homeland security through short- and long-term exchanges at laboratories, facilities, and organizations throughout the homeland security complex.

"The scientific community is in great need of new scientists," said Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Dr. Charles McQueary.  "We believe that our program will not only encourage students to pursue science related degrees but will also begin to fill the gaps left by retiring scientists.  This first group of scholarship and fellowship awardees will be the foundation that we can build upon in the coming years that will specifically focus on science and homeland security issues."  

In coordination with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, the DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program will ensure the future supply of individuals skilled in critical areas such as the life and social sciences. After graduation, students are encouraged to consider employment offers from DHS, state and local operational offices, DHS-affiliated laboratories and facilities, and/or DHS-related university positions.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy facility focusing on scientific initiatives and educational programs. ORISE is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities and has many years of experience coordinating well-known fellowship programs like the National Science Foundation.

"America's research universities applaud the creation of the DHS scholarship and fellowship program," said Nils Hasselmo, President, Association of American Universities (AAU) and former President of the University of Minnesota.  "AAU and others in the higher education community have advocated the establishment of such a program.  We believe it will encourage thousands of undergraduate and graduate students to enter fields of study in which they can use their intellectual talents to strengthen our nation's security.  Our colleges and universities are a storehouse of knowledge and expertise on security issues, and they are eager to help the Department get this program under way."

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