College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; College of Science; Graduate School

New program to support the next generation of STEM doctors


Four faculty members of the CUBD program: Oliver J. Meyers, Tonyia Stewart, Cindy Lee and Rajendra K. Bordia
Members of the CUBD team pictured left to right: Oliver Myers, Tonyia Stewart, Cindy Lee, and Rajendra Bordia.
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The Clemson University Bridge to Doctorate Program to fund, educate and mentor underrepresented students pursuing Ph.D.s in STEM

The National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program has awarded $1 million to establish the inaugural Clemson University Bridge to Doctorate Graduate Fellowship Program (CUBD). Through this funding, along with additional resources provided by the University, full financial support will be provided to a cohort of 12 incoming underrepresented Ph.D. students enrolled in select programs in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences (CECAS) or the College of Science.

Clemson’s selection to participate in this long-standing NSF program speaks to the University’s growing reputation for quality research and its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are eager for our first cohort of students to begin in 2022 and hope to continue growing this program in the coming years to diversify the STEM Ph.D. pipeline with a focus on advanced materials. 


The CUBD cohort will comprise diverse scientific leaders with expertise in advanced materials research. This effort will drive fundamental advances in inorganic and organic materials to inform and define future research directions for developing advanced materials and systems across a spectrum of applications.

“By focusing our efforts on advanced materials, we can further support the state by graduating qualified Ph.D.s with expertise aligned to the needs of the broad spectrum of industries in South Carolina,” said Oliver J. Myers, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean of inclusive excellence for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. “It will also help to ensure recruited students, although in different departments, will feel like a true cohort in which they can experience professional development opportunities as a cohesive and supportive group.”

Selected students will receive a $32,000 stipend for their first two years of education and research through the NSF’s funding, and the University will cover the cost of their remaining three years.

In addition to financial support, CUBD Scholars will benefit from Clemson’s supportive community, individual faculty and peer mentoring, advising and advocacy. Beginning with the application process, CUBD Scholars will have access to a built-in network for professional development and support as they pursue an advanced degree. Prospective students will complete a profile to express their interests, career goals and previous research experiences to be paired with leaders from Clemson’s STEM ALL-IN program, a collaborative effort between CECAS and the College of Science to recruit and retain underrepresented students pursuing a graduate degree at the University. Additionally, students will have a research adviser and the opportunity for mentorship from others through the CUBD Faculty Mentor Network. Participating faculty will help students navigate graduate school, conduct dissertation research, create and attain goals outlined in individual development plans and network with established industry professionals.

Students will begin in the Summer or Fall 2022 semester in one of 12 programs available. Those interested in participating in the 2022 CUBD cohort must first meet the admissions requirements for the respective department they’re interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in. All eligibility requirements can be found online.

With the NSF funding, Clemson becomes the second institution in the state to create a Bridge to Doctorate program and joins peer institutions like the University of California, Berkeley; University of Maryland; University of Virginia; University of Alabama Huntsville; and University of Washington. Students interested in applying to be part of the inaugural CUBD cohort can learn more online or email

About the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation: The LSAMP program honors the life and legacy of Congressman Louis Stokes. He was the first African American congressman in Ohio who was a champion for social and economic justice and a tireless advocate for expanding opportunities for underrepresented groups. Clemson University is proud to have been selected to continue the commitment and legacy of Congressman Stokes through this Bridge to Doctorate Program.

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