UNCF Institute for Capacity Building Announces Recipients of 2023-2024 Faculty Research Mini-Grant Programs


Significant step towards fostering faculty research, professional development and strategic partnerships

ATLANTA, G.A., April 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — UNCF’s (United Negro College Fund) Institute for Capacity Building (ICB) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023-2024 Faculty Research Mini-Grant programs, sponsored by Kroger, Lightcast and Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property. These mini-grant opportunities were presented at the UNCF UNITE 2023 conference, marking a significant step towards fostering faculty research, professional development and strategic partnerships.

The Faculty Research Mini-Grant program, with generous support from Kroger, Lightcast and Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, aims to encourage and promote diverse projects at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), ranging from disciplinary-based research to scholarly publications and exhibitions.


Dr. Lesley Joseph from Benedict College is the recipient of the Kroger sponsored mini-grant. This grant centers around Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program, emphasizing system change and innovation to address food scarcity. Dr. Joseph’s work is expected to highlight metrics surrounding food insecurity and provide sustainable models to address this issue in the HBCU ecosystem in South Carolina through innovative research.

“As the recipient of the Kroger/UNCF mini-grant, I am excited to have an opportunity to confront the issue of food insecurity at our HBCUs throughout South Carolina,” said Joseph. “Food insecurity disproportionately affects college students throughout the United States, and the issue is magnified on HBCU campuses. This investment by Kroger/UNCF will support research and capacity building efforts to investigate its root causes and propose interventions. I am honored to be selected for this effort.” 

The Lightcast sponsored mini-grant, focused on career development programming, has been awarded to Jacqueline Huff from Elizabeth City State University. This grant focuses on enhancing career services expertise to prepare students for success in the ever-evolving job market.

“Part of the mission of Elizabeth City State University is to ‘…prepare a diverse student body for personal and professional success…,’” said Huff. “The grant provided by Lightcast in association with UNCF will help us prepare students for careers by providing a platform where they are able to match interests with major areas of study. Thus, we’re helping them to pave the way to lifelong success.”

The Michelson Institute of Intellectual Property has sponsored two mini-grants, and the recipients are Dr. Hyosoo Moon from North Carolina A&T University and Marcya Burden from Oakwood University. These grants focus on intellectual property in the HBCU ecosystem by providing insight on how to build upon the Michelson Institute’s curriculum and gathering data that can inform opportunities for advancement and areas of current innovation in the HBCU ecosystem, such as policy and student entrepreneurship.

“Intellectual property is integral to the functionality of our society, and it is of exceptional importance that students within the HBCU ecosystem have access to curriculum that teaches them how to protect their innovations and ideas,” said Burden. “I am excited to partner with Michelson in creating curriculum with purposeful movement to advance and equip the future innovators and entrepreneurs within the HBCU ecosystem.”   

UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building received an overwhelming response to its call for proposals, with 100-plus high-quality proposals arriving from more than 40 institutions, making the selection process highly competitive. The chosen individuals showcase outstanding dedication and expertise in their respective fields.

“We look forward to the journey with these talented grant recipients and eagerly anticipate sharing their impactful findings at the UNCF UNITE 2024 conference. ICB remains committed to supporting and building upon our institutions’ legacy of excellence through uplifting our faculty and being at the cutting edge of innovation,” said Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president, ICB, UNCF.

To learn more about UNCF ICB, please visit UNCFicb.org. If you are interested in sponsoring a faculty research mini-grant for the 2024-2025 program, go to UNCFunite.org.


About UNCF 
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, supports and strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. While totaling only 3% of all colleges and universities, UNCF institutions and other historically Black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 15% of bachelor’s degrees, 5% of master’s degrees, 10% of doctoral degrees and 19% of all STEM degrees earned by Black students in higher education. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 50,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark, ‟A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on X (formerly Twitter) at @UNCF

CONTACT: Roy Betts UNCF 2407033384 [email protected] Zillah Fluker UNCF Institute for Capacity Building 860.463.4348 [email protected] 

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