Sunday, August 14, 2011

Many academic programs for underrepresented minorities recognize Pacific Islanders. What are some examples?

Q. We say that many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities acknowledge that Pacific Islanders should be allowed to apply -- can we back that up with specific examples?

A. Yes we can.

Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, and many academic programs for underrepresented minorities rightfully allow them to apply. In fact, since we started sharing our data last fall, thirteen underrepresented minority scholarships changed their own policies when they looked and the data and decided that they didn't want to choose to exclude Pacific Islanders.

The first five of those scholarships are the HBCU Minority Scholarship, the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, and two National Medical Fellowships scholarships. To see the rest, just click here to view our "honor roll" page: link

While our research previously indicated that most underrepresented minority programs were excluding Pacific Islanders, our research indicates big changes. Based on our most recent tracking data, most underrepresented minority programs include Pacific Islanders, and less than one in three still misclassify Pacific Islanders.

In addition to those outstanding programs, here are a few examples (I've included a mix of programs that are exclusive to underrepresented minorities and others that simply give preference.) --
  • The National Institutes of Health Research Supplements to Promote Diversity for Undergraduate Students: LINK
  • The University of Washington Diversity Award: LINK
  • Cornell Diversity Fellowship: LINK
  • Clifford Clark Graduate Fellowship Program for Diversity: LINK
All of these programs provide great opportunities for promising students, and are even better for the fact that they are aware of the data that has consistently shown that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education.

Unfortunately, too many other academic programs for underrepresented minorities still need to look at the data on Pacific Islanders. But thanks to the positive example set by these programs and others, we can say that inclusion of Pacific Islanders -- not exclusion -- is now the norm for underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships.

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