The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Spaces4Learning.

ORAU and Thurgood Marshall College Fund Join Forces to Expand STEM Opportunities

OAK RIDGE, TN – Our nation’s historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving educational institutions are often untapped resources abounding in talent, ingenuity, and expertise, but often lacking in the material resources necessary for scientific research. Tapping into those resources is a big part of the reason Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) officially began a working relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Oak Ridge, TN, on Friday, March 29, 2019.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is the nation’s largest organization exclusively supporting all 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). ORAU is a national leader in connecting the best and most diverse students, recent graduates, faculty members, and professionals with meaningful mentored research experiences at national labs and other federal research facilities around the country.

“This is a historic day for us,” said Dr. N. Joyce Payne, who founded TMCF in 1987. “We’ve not had the opportunity to operate at this level in terms of an organization that has so much prestige as ORAU. ORAU has been in the business for 75 years, and has been changing the world, producing the kind of research that makes life easier and more prosperous for Americans. We hope to bring talent to this process and find ways to collaborate so we can continue to change the world as ORAU has done.”

The spirit of collaboration will be a driving force in ORAU’s relationship with TMCF campuses.

“I say this all the time: we can’t do this alone,” says Andy Page, president and CEO of ORAU. “Our pursuit of enhancing research participation programs and creating change in young students’ lives is not a challenge we can do alone. We’re always seeking like-minded organizations that are in the same pursuit as we are.”

TMCF offers a tremendous opportunity for HBCUs and gives ORAU the ability to bring those HBCUs into our 100-plus-member university consortium. Students and faculty at TMCF schools will have the opportunity to be part of ORAU’s research participation programs, most of which are administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, a Department of Energy asset managed by ORAU.

The students at TMCF schools are ready for opportunities like those offered through research participation programs, as are their leaders, says Dr. Harry L. Williams, TMCF president. “I don’t think we’ll have a problem convincing students to [apply for opportunities],” he says. “I think there’s going to be overflow. By communicating with our member presidents, they are going to see this as an incredible win for their institutions and for their faculty.”

To learn more about the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, visit

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security, and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities, and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local, and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy.

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