The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI) is a new endowed fellowship program at Johns Hopkins for PhD students in STEM fields. It provides full tuition, stipend, and benefits while also providing targeted mentoring, networking, community, and professional development opportunities. The initiative is dedicated to nurturing, mentoring, and connecting the exceptional diverse talent that exists at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) to STEM graduate education and future leadership in STEM careers.
The Department of Cognitive Science is thrilled to be participating in this initiative! We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of Vivian Thomas PhD Scholars in Fall 2022 as they join our exceptional STEM PhD programs at Johns Hopkins.
VTSs will work jointly under the guidance of outstanding STEM program faculty mentors and dedicated VTSI mentors alike, with whom VTSs will meet regularly for individual check-ins and complementary advising, mentorship and sponsorship, all dedicated towards ensuring that VTSs fully thrive personally and professionally along their journey at Hopkins and beyond.
To be considered for the VTSI, all graduate program application and supplementary materials must be received by December 1, 2021. Application materials are collected within the participating STEM PhD program application. Apply here. Participating STEM programs are listed here. Interested applicants should also read the application instructions for their PhD program(s) of interest before starting the application.
Students recruited to the university through this new program will be known as Vivien Thomas Scholars, in recognition of Dr. Thomas (1910–1985) who was a renowned Black scientist best known for his work to develop a cardiac surgery technique to treat “blue baby syndrome” (Blalock-Taussig shunt) at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1940s—a life-saving advance for which he did not receive credit for decades. Dr. Thomas, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, enrolled as a premedical student at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College, an HBCU in Nashville, but was forced to drop out due to the Great Depression and was never able to enroll in medical school. Despite his lack of an advanced degree, Dr. Thomas spent his career as a pioneering research and surgical assistant. In 1976 Dr. Thomas was awarded an honorary doctorate by Johns Hopkins University and named instructor of surgery in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.