In an effort to increase the number of ethnic minority faculty members in higher education, the Ford Foundation established the Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships and this year, LMU Professor Jeff Sanny served on the panel for the physical sciences and mathematics.
“The idea behind the awards is to increase the ethnic and racial diversity among faculty in our nation’s universities,” said Jeff Sanny, associate dean for research and professor of physics in the Seaver College of Science and Engineering. “In turn, the students’ education will be enriched by the variety of perspectives and experiences a diverse faculty can provide.”
Responding to an invitation from the National Academy of Sciences, Sanny agreed to serve on a panel of about 15 faculty members who had the task of selecting recipients of the Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships in physical sciences and mathematics. Students could apply within three categories: predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral. The superior quality of the candidates made the panel’s decisions extremely difficult. In the predoctoral category, there were more than 100 applications, with fewer than 10 fellowships awarded.
For Sanny, the commitment to diversity in science and mathematics through the National Academies panel was of utmost importance. These fellowships provide opportunities to bring about differing perspectives in the academic realm.
“Overall, I feel great about being a part of this process,” said Sanny. “An important goal of the university’s mission is to build an intercultural community.”