Mission Statement
David Blackwell
David H. Blackwell 1919-2010 B.A. Mathematics, 1938 M.A. Mathematics, 1939 Ph.D. Mathematics, 1941

The Department of Statistics is extremely fortunate to have as alumnus, the inimitable, internationally recognized African American scholar of statistics, Professor David H. Blackwell. His illustrious accomplishments have inspired the Department to initiate several important programmatic efforts in his name, which will be partly supported by contributions to the David H. Blackwell Diversity Fund. With support from our friends and alumni, we will be able to continue our graduate scholarship program for diversity, establish an undergraduate summer research program aimed to create opportunities for underrepresented minority populations in statistics, and support a distinguished lecture series. The Department of Statistics at the University of Illinois is well poised to fulfill these programmatic efforts that are exemplary of Professor Blackwell’s name. Together we can support the next generation of statisticians.

Call To Action

Recent events have drawn attention to longstanding social disparities for underrepresented minorities in the United States. Clearly, the United States educational system and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) disciplines serve an important role in mitigating these social disparities. What is dismaying is that research continues to reveal significant challenges towards successful STEM participation for minority groups. Specifically, these racial and ethnic minorities have significant challenges in preparedness in STEM areas as reflected in K-12 achievement tests and have marginal degree completion in STEM.

Program Details

The David H. Blackwell Summer Scholars Program is designed to increase the access and equity in the pipeline for graduate degrees in statistics, data science, and mathematics. The David H. Blackwell Summer Scholars Program will offer research experiences during the summer to 8-12 students. The goal of the project is advance the scholars’ knowledge of statistics, data science, and mathematics and to prepare them for success in future graduate programs. The Department of Statistics at the University of Illinois is well poised and dedicated to fulfill programmatic efforts that are exemplary of Professor Blackwell’s name. 

Blackwell Summer Scholars Program is an eight week program during Summer-2024 to work alongside leading faculty in selected areas of statistics and/or mathematics based research. The program will be held from June 10 through August 2. Further details will be forthcoming. Participants will give a presentation based on their research project at the end of the workshop. 

Participants will be awarded with the Blackwell Scholars scholarship that will provide two generous stipend payments paid out over the duration of the workshop.  

Areas of Research Topics

  • Statistical Theory
  • Applications of Statistics
  • Mathematical Theory
  • Applications of Mathematics

Application Requirements

  • Resume or CV
  • Unofficial Academic Transcripts
  • Personal/Research Statement on interests in statistics and/or mathematics (400 words max)
    • 1. Describe the research areas that interest you and your post-baccalaureate goals
    • 2. Describe how your personal and cultural background and academic development influenced your educational and career plans for the future
  • 1 letter of academic recommendation (Provide name and contact of recommender in application system and recommender will receive a unique link via email to upload their letter directly to your application)

Application Details

  • Deadline: March 10, 2024
  • Notifications: March 29, 2024

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or non-U.S. citizens with DACA.
  • Be an Illinois undergraduate student and not scheduled to graduate before December 2024.
  • Have a minimum overall 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Have an interest in pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Have personal medical/health insurance coverage throughout the duration of the program.

Participant Benefits

  • $5,000 stipend
    • $2,500 at the halfway point of the program
    • $2,500 at the completion of the program
  • Research and graduate application mentorship by faculty and graduate students
  • Networking, professional development, and career counseling
  • Opportunity to present a research poster at Illinois Summer Research Symposium


Following the Apply Now! link above will direct you to the Graduate College website where applications are submitted and processed through. First-time users of the application system will need to create a unique user account to submit their application. Users who have submitted an application to a graduate program through the Graduate College may use their previous credentials to submit an additional application to this specific program. In the list of options of programs to apply to, select 2024 Blackwell Scholars App. At any time during the application process you have a question, please reach out to us at stat-admissions@illinois.edu.

David Blackwell

African-American educator who overcame adversity and racism to become a leader in the field of statistics

David Blackwell had a distinguished career while living an extraordinary life. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and the Civil Rights Era, Blackwell’s life is one of inspiration. From the very beginning, Blackwell overcame insurmountable odds to become an influential contributor to the world of mathematics and statistics. Blackwell's journey started in Southern Illinois with modest yet noble goals of becoming an elementary school teacher. His remarkable life would culminate with twelve honorary Doctorates and numerous awards, honors, and leadership roles throughout his career.

Continue Reading

David H. Blackwell Diversity Fund

Gift to support program