By Wendy Sarubbi | September 3, 2020 9:40 am

The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences has received $125,000 from the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation to provide scholarships for its doctoral students and enhance graduate programs.

Dr. Griffith Parks, director of the Burnett School, said the endowed scholarship will help UCF compete in recruiting the best, brightest and most diverse young scientists, and create career development programs that will prepare students for the job market.

Applications to UCF’s biomedical sciences graduate program have increased rapidly over the past three years with candidates from across the nation and the globe.  Forty new graduate students joined UCF earlier this fall semester, including 12 Ph.D. candidate, 28 master’s students from as far away as Haiti, Palestine and Bangladesh as well as 21 who are UCF alumni.

The Oakley Foundation has supported the College of Medicine’s biomedical sciences programs since 2006 and has also been a benefactor of UCF since 1986. Based in Terre Haute, Indiana, the foundation was formed to promote religious, educational and charitable purposes, particularly in the states of Indiana and Florida. It currently supports the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation Endowed Scholarship and the newly established Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation Excellence Fund.

The new grant of $125,000 over five years will enhance the current endowment, and provide scholarships in perpetuity. Dr. Parks and cowriter of the grant Carlee Thomas of the College of Medicine said the funds will also help attract internationally known speakers and offer students travel opportunities to share and present their research.

“I cannot emphasize how critical this fund has been in helping us fulfill our missions of education, research and service for our students as well as recruiting a more diversity biomedical student population,” said Dr. Parks. “We are forever grateful for their support.”

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