In memory of Lillie Scott Grooms, a pioneering Black woman in the medical field who was a Nurse Administrator in the Boston area for decades, the Fund seeks to encourage a passion for learning in the STEM arena and to enable underrepresented youth to receive the required support to pursue careers in science, mathematics, and healthcare while also serving as examples for other young people who may want to pursue those career fields.
STEM-based education teaches children more than science and mathematics concepts. The focus on hands-on learning with real-world applications helps develop creativity and 21st-century skills such as media and technology literacy, productivity, social skills, communication, flexibility and initiative. Other skills attained through STEM education include problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more.
After graduating from a segregated school system in South Carolina in the 1940s, Mrs. Grooms understood how STEM prepares future generations to be successful in their careers. Moreover, she knew that the skills gained from STEM education extend beyond those needed to be successful in STEM fields, preparing children with varied interests who move into any industry to have valuable skill sets that allow them to be successful.
Established by an initial donation from NCCF Trustee Jacklyn Mitchell Wynn, the Fund honors the commitment Mrs. Grooms placed on continuing education, healthcare and the sciences. The Grooms family as well as the NCCF family at large have joined together to grow and sustain this fund in an effort to ensure that NCCF youth who shine in these areas are able to continue their education much like their predecessor Lillie Grooms, who after many years in the field, returned to school when both her children were in college to complete her Bachelor’s in Nursing, and later, a Master’s in Public Health, from Boston University. Her legacy includes one granddaughter, an adolescent and child psychiatrist and administrator at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and another, who is a Ph.D. in Public Health at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Lillie Scott Grooms Fund for Excellence in the Sciences will provide annual grants and scholarships to youth across NCCF’s more than 20 programs who excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).