NSF Awards CAU $10 Million to Bring Data Science to HBCUs through a National Data Science Alliance (NDSA)

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) makes history as the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive a $10 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES program to establish the National Data Science Alliance (NDSA).

The NDSA will increase the number of Black people earning data science credentials by at least 20,000 by 2027 and expand data science research that advocates for social justice and strive to eliminate bias. To accomplish this visionary goal, the NDSA will facilitate engagement across all HBCUs with industry and academic collaboration to broaden participation and advance social justice in data science.

“This is a monumental accomplishment for the HBCU community as a whole, and we at Clark Atlanta University are deeply honored to perpetuate institutional mission through data science,” said President George T. French Jr., Ph.D. “Clark Atlanta University has deep roots in conducting data science research that promotes equity, including the seminal works of scholar and former faculty member W.E.B. Du Bois on these hallowed grounds. This historic award exemplifies our commitment to ensuring that competitive advantage for students to succeed and excel in our data-driven society.”

Talitha Washington, the lead and principal investigator of the grant, is the mastermind behind the NDSA. As the Director of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Data Science Initiative and professor of mathematics at Clark Atlanta University, she is passionate about engaging more HBCUs and building a community to accelerate the preparation of students in data science and discover solutions for data-oriented problems that impact the lives of Blacks.

“We are excited that many HBCUs will collaborate with us to develop new equity-based discoveries in data science and expand student pathways that will change the face of data science,” said Washington.

The NDSA is supported by the AUC Consortium, led by Michael Hodge, with industry-university collaboration led by Moses Garuba (Howard University) and collective impact efforts led by H. Justin Ballenger (Morehouse College). The NDSA’s three regional hubs are led by LaTanya Brown-Robertson (Howard University), Sajid Hussain (Fisk University), and Eric Mintz (Clark Atlanta University). The evaluation will be led by Kavita Mittapalli (MN Associates).

The NDSA will catalyze systemic change at scale by engaging over 1,000 HBCU faculty and will create equity-based data science ecosystems where all students can learn and thrive.

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