WASHINGTON, D.C. – Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) participated this week in a White House-led conference designed to strengthen the capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide excellence in education.
The three-day conference, which concludes today, brought together HBCU leaders, nonprofits and federal government representatives to focus on issues including access and retention; public and private partnerships; and building capacity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. President Obama also proclaimed this week National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.
“During National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, we celebrate the immeasurable contributions these crucibles of learning have made to our Nation,” President Obama wrote in the proclamation. “As we continue strengthening the capacity of HBCUs, let us also recommit to preserving and enriching their long tradition of hope and success, and to sustaining our collective effort to meet and exceed America's goals for educational excellence.”
Since its inception in 2000, NNSA has been a strong supporter of student development in education to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Minority Serving Institutions across the United States. During FY 2010, which ends Sept. 30, NNSA is awarding more than $17 million in grants to HBCUs. More than 300 minority students have participated in summer internships across the nuclear security enterprise since the program’s inception.
“Our longstanding involvement with HBCUs has enabled highly skilled students to become engaged with our national security missions and gain exposure to leading science, technology and engineering professionals across the country,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino. “We rely on these relationships to recruit the next generation of nuclear security experts, and we support the President’s goal to further develop HBCU partnerships with the federal government.”
NNSA’s Minority Serving Institutions program has produced an increase in collaborative research projects among HBCU institutions and majority institutions and NNSA laboratories, resulting in several pending patents. The program also has increased collaborative projects with small and large businesses such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Motors.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.