Four students in the USF Health Taneja College of Pharmacy’s graduate program for pharmaceutical nanotechnology were recently awarded the inaugural fellowships of the newly formed McKnight Graduate Nano-STEM Fellowship Program, a collaborative effort launched by TCOP’s Graduate Programs and the Florida Education Fund (FEF).
Harshita Chitturi, Sophia Claymore, Zaria Jean-Baptiste, and Kristina Tosi, all students in the Master’s of Science in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology program in TCOP, were each awarded a fellowship for the 2023-24 academic year, which includes $10,000 toward tuition.
The McKnight Graduate Nano-STEM Fellowship Program aims to increase the number of underrepresented African American, Hispanic, and females who enroll in STEM-related programs and careers. The fellowship program, which is for master’s-level students, will enhance participation and services in STEM fields for underrepresented minority groups while bringing awareness to the field of nanotechnology as an emerging STEM field.
“Minorities, including women, are underrepresented in the high wage-earning STEM workforce and hence the Florida Education Fund is the perfect collaborator as they remain at the forefront of advancing educational opportunities for historically underrepresented groups,” said Shyam Mohapatra, PhD, MBA, associate professor, associate dean of Graduate Programs in the Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Distinguished Health Professor. “This partnership will allow us to focus our efforts on recruiting and producing more STEM graduates to fulfill the nation’s shortage in the coming years.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that STEM jobs will grow by another 1 million positions by 2031, a gain of 10.8 percent, more than double the growth rate predicted for all jobs (5.3%) and non-STEM jobs (4.9%). The "skills gap" is largely defined by the estimated 3.5 million shortfalls by 2025 in qualified candidates for STEM positions.
The TCOP master’s program in pharmaceutical nanotechnology trains students in the skills needed to understand the technological advances in science at the nanoscale and how nanomaterials and processes can be applied to drug delivery, diagnosis, treatment monitoring, tissue regeneration, and personalized medicine.