August 01, 2023

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates Launch of Ron V. Dellums Memorial SMART Fellowship

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) celebrated the launch of the Ronald V. Dellums Memorial SMART Fellowship which is aimed at boosting the number of minority students in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) fields through robust financial scholarships to college students. Applications for the inaugural year of the program go live today, August 1st, 2023, through the Department of Defense.

The fellowship, which will recruit at least 50% of students from HBCUs or other minority serving institutions, was made possible by legislation the Congresswoman first introduced in 2018 establishing the Ron v. Dellums Memorial Fellowship. The program was fully funded in the FY23 appropriations bill and received $3 million in the FY24 bill.

“I am deeply grateful to all who have helped to make the Ron V. Dellums Memorial Fellowship a reality. Congressman Dellums was a dear friend, lifelong inspiration, and valued mentor to me,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It is my honor to keep his legacy alive through this fellowship and to continue his life’s work pursuing justice and equity by providing opportunities to the next generation of talented young people of color. In a field still plagued by institutional bias, this program will be an important contributor to a talent pipeline of qualified leaders in STEAM. I encourage high school seniors and college students to apply, and look forward to meeting the inaugural class.” 

The SMART Scholarship offers full tuition, annual stipends, and employment with the DoD after graduation. The Ron V. Dellums Memorial SMART Scholarship expands the SMART scholarship to rising college freshmen, making high school seniors eligible for the opportunity. The Dellums Scholarship will fund students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in one of the 24 SMART STEM disciplines and offer funding for up to 5 years. 

The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums (1935-2018) was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, dedicated social worker, advocate for civil rights, and politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1971-1998) and Mayor of Oakland (2007-2011). Dellums was the first African American to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and, during the 103rd Congress (1993-1995), became the first African American Chairman on the committee. Congresswoman Lee joined the staff of Congressman Dellums in 1975, where she rose from an intern to Chief of Staff and served in both the district and DC offices. After several years serving in the California State Senate, Congresswoman Lee won Dellums’ seat in Congress when he retired in 1998, a position she has held since.

Interested students can apply for the scholarship here.