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Duke Energy supports of Clemson summer programs promoting workforce diversity

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The Duke Energy Foundation is providing $85,000 to Clemson University to continue support of two summer programs that are aimed at increasing diversity in the pipeline that carries talent from academia to the workplace.

 The foundation granted $45,000 to Project WISE and $40,000 to PEER/WISE Summer Experiences, according to a news release from Clemson University.

 Project WISE offers hands-on mini courses designed to develop middle school girls’ knowledge in STEM fields. The foundation expanded the grant last year to specifically target and recruit girls from the Pee Dee region to attend, and that effort continued this year, the news release said.

 Sixty girls are enrolled in Project WISE. The Duke Energy Foundation has supported the program since 1997, and some of its alumni have gone on to become Clemson students, according to the news release.

 PEER/WISE Summer Experiences seeks to increase the number of minority and female students who pursue both higher education and careers in STEM fields. Incoming Clemson freshmen who participate in the three-week PEER/WISE Summer Experiences will earn two hours of college course credit through both online and in-person educational opportunities, and will be provided with hands-on STEM learning and research experiences, the news release said.

 The program seeks to help students understand the difference between the academic demands of high school and college, and introduce them to the academically intensive STEM college experience through instruction and study skills development in mathematics and engineering from Clemson faculty.

 Duke Energy has helped fund this program for the past 21 years, along with Clemson’s Emerging Scholars program and the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

Officials cheered another year of collaboration.

“Programs like these are crucial to giving young people the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century as well as create a diverse workforce,” Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president, said in the news release. “Our ongoing partnership with Clemson University helps produce skilled workers, grow communities and bring them new ideas.”

Both camps are organized by PEER & WISE, a program in the university’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences that supports groups underrepresented in engineering and science.

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