Gates Scholarship event shows program’s impact

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program hosted two key figures Monday night: Larry Griffith Jr., Vice President of UNCF and Julie Kim, Director of Operations of UNCF.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program provides full-ride scholarships to 1,000 students each year for up to 10 years of funding, five years of undergraduate and five years of graduate studies. It is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from Bill and Melinda Gates. USC has some of the most Gates Scholars in the nation; there are currently 78 USC scholars, both undergraduate and graduate.

The UNCF — the United Negro College Fund — administers GMSP along with the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund  and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund.

When selecting from a pool of applicants, GMSP looks at both academic and non-cognitive indicators, according to Larry Griffith.

“We look at 12 dimensions of personality, character, determination, and other factors that show us if students have the ability to navigate the environment,” Griffith said. “Our goal is to connect students and keep them engaged in the program. We try to support their next steps.”

GMSP represents four major groups: African American, Asian Pacific American, Native American and Hispanic.

The Director of Operations, Julie Kim, discussed some updates that next year will bring. The institution portal will be online and electronic fund transfer will replace checks, Kim said. Kim also discussed various programs students can get involved in, including alternative spring breaks and conferences.

“GMSP is definitely more than just a scholarship. It funds up to five years of graduate study and seven different fields of graduate study including math, engineering, computer science, and public health,” said Linda Huynh, a junior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention.

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