Howard University and WISER Awarded $1.9 Million Grant from the Peterson Foundation to Support Increased Diversity in the Field of Economics 

American Economic Association Summer Training Program/IPODWASHINGTON A new five-year, $1.9 million grant will support the Howard University Department of Economics and the Women’s Institute on Science, Race and Equity (WISER) in their innovative work to increase diversity in the field of economics and promote greater inclusion in fiscal and economic policymaking.  The grant was made by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to securing America’s fiscal and economic future, and will fund an expansion and enhancement of the American Economic Association Summer Training Program (AEASTP). 

The AEASTP is designed to prepare Black and other underrepresented minority students for graduate programs in economics. Howard and WISER will collaborate to offer an enhanced AEASTP that provides full-time academic coursework, experiential learning, supportive mentoring relationships, and networking opportunities. The partnership will strengthen the program’s ability to recruit women of color, who are the most underrepresented in the economics profession.

The grant, which includes $1.25 million for Howard and $650,000 for WISER, builds on the commitments of pre-program launch partners.  Howard is the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) with a doctorate program in economics and the first HBCU to host the Summer Program in its nearly 50-year history.  WISER’s mission is to expand women-focused policy research to include the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous American, and Multiracial women. 

“The students are in for a great Howard experience. They will be immersed in learning economics taught by an exceptional team of professors, meet economists from different professions, and create their own research. From our extensive list of experiential learning partners to our wide list of sponsors, the American Economic Association Summer program will be an experience like no other,” said Omari Swinton, Ph.D., co-lead on the program.

“The field of economics plays a fundamental role in the design of national policy, and it should represent the viewpoints, priorities and ideas of our increasingly diverse population,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation.  “Far too often, the research and policymaking process does not adequately reflect a range of experiences and insights from across our nation.  Howard University and WISER’s important work will help increase the number of diverse voices in economics and related fields, and lead to better and more representative policymaking for our economy.”  

The AEASTP program will have a total of 190 participants across five years, with 30 students in the first year and 40 students per year in the following years. The program consists of four 8-week courses with a two-track structure: foundational and advanced led by Howard University economics professors. The foundational track will consist of upper-level undergraduate and master level courses for sophomores, juniors, while the advanced track PhD level courses for seniors or those who completed master’s level coursework but need preparation for PhD programs. WISER will provide inclusive, peer, onsite, and distance (IPOD) mentoring for a three-year period. Each participant will be assigned to an IPOD consisting of two foundation and two advanced track students.

The AEASTP program will be co-directed by Omari H. Swinton, Ph.D., and Gerald Daniels. Ph.D. Other program administrators include Jevay Grooms, Ph.D., and William Spriggs, Ph.D.  WISER’s Rhonda V. Sharpe, Ph.D., will serve as the assistant director for the program, as well as the director for the IPOD program.

“It is an honor to be associated with the AEA. I’m looking forward to working alongside prominent professors, developing career long mentorships, sharpening my research abilities, and preparing for the academic rigors of my doctoral studies,” said Jovial Clayton, masters of economics 2021 graduate. “I’m highly anticipating the intense math and econometrics training – those discussions are always fun.”

Himaja Nimmagadda, associate director of the IPOD program and recent economics grad from Virginia Commonwealth University, said, “As an undergrad, I noticed there was a lack of accessible means to build a network and access information about graduate studies. Support from Peter G. Peterson Foundation enables me to bridge that gap for IPOD participants.” 

To learn more about the American Economic Association Summer Training Program, visit



About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

About the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER)

Founded on International Woman’s Day 2016, WISER is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)3 research institute. Supporting the expansion of women-focused policy in the US, WISER’s mission is to expand women-focused policy research to include the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous American, and Multiracial women. WISER believes a microanalysis approach, the disaggregation of data by race, ethnicity and gender, will draw different conclusions for each group, as opposed to the broad umbrella of “women of color.” For more information on WISER, visit

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit

Media Contact: Aaliyah Butler,