When you walked into the Union Ballroom for the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars launch event on October 19, 2022, you could immediately sense something special was happening. With approximately 150 Stony Brook University faculty, staff, students and leaders and friends from the Simons Foundation and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s (UMBC) Meyerhoff Scholars Program, you could feel the excitement and sense of community in the room.
Welcoming its first cohort of students in the fall of 2023, the Stony Brook STEM Scholars Program will provide scholarships for tuition, housing, stipends, guidance and support for the next generation of diverse leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Under the guidance of its new executive director, Erwin Cabrera, the program promises to make an extraordinary impact on the lives of thousands of students – in large part due to the support network that will be composed of many of the launch event’s attendees.
“Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars will be part of a vast and visionary community of faculty, peers, parents, and mentors,” says Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “All of whom will create an essential support system for these students and remain laser-focused on their success.”
The Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program is born from a longstanding partnership between Stony Brook University and the Simons Foundation. Seeing the need for more diversity in the STEM workforce, the Simons Foundation and the Simons Foundation International have donated $56.6 million to create this transformational program on Stony Brook’s campus.
“This is a tremendous moment for Stony Brook University, for the Simons Foundation, and for the future of science,” says Simons Foundation President David Spergel. “If we hope to address the increasingly complex challenges our world is facing, we must develop scientists and mathematicians who are reflective of our diverse world and who bring diversity of thought and perspective.”
The “Leadership, Lunch and Conversation” event kicked off an intensive two days where faculty and staff participated in planning sessions and workshops with teams from the Simons Foundation and UMBC’s Meyerhoff Program, the program that has served as a guide for the Stony Brook Simons STEM Scholars Program.
“It was an incredible two days,” says Cabrera. “It was a unique opportunity for people across campus to understand the legacy we are building and the impact that it’s going to have on Stony Brook and, quite frankly, the world.”
Pictured above: Simons Foundation President David Spergel, University President Maurie McInnis and Stony Brook STEM Scholars Program Executive Director Erwin Cabrera.