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USC Upstate Receives $50K from Power:Ed to support student biomedical research

A group of people holding a large check.

University of South Carolina Upstate has received a $50,000 award from Power:Ed to prepare state students for careers in the life sciences. Funds will support the summer research program ER(Up)T, short for Engaged Research and Training at Upstate.

ER(Up)T provides USC Upstate students an opportunity to engage in faculty-mentored research in the biomedical sciences, to be paid $3,800 for their full-time eight-week summer research internship, to participate in career development workshops, and to present their research at local and regional conferences.

“Power:Ed is proud to support USC Upstate’s vital biomedical education and workforce development programs to inspire the next generation of biomedical scientists in South Carolina,” said Claire Gibbons, director of Power:Ed, a philanthropy of SC Student Loan. “The goal of this summer research is to improve degree completion and create STEM career pathways that offer social mobility and quality employment opportunities for USC Upstate students.”

ER(Up)T program director Josh Ruppel, Ph.D., who serves director of research and a professor of chemistry at USC Upstate, said the Power:Ed funding will create additional paid research experiences for students.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding from Power:Ed,” Ruppel said. “It almost seems like the opportunity afforded by this organization was a perfect match for our program, as both are focused on supporting student success and developing South Carolina’s workforce. ER(Up)T students will not only benefit from the experience academically, but they will also take away valuable skills and tools to help build their future careers.

Power:Ed is investing $900,000 this year in education and career readiness organizations across the state, with 17 organizations funded so far this fiscal year.

Power:Ed grants are administered quarterly. The next grant application deadline is July 1. South Carolina organizations serving middle school through post-college talent are interested in applying for a grant or partnering with Power:Ed are encouraged to visit

About Power:Ed
Founded in 2019 by SC Student Loan Corporation, Power:Ed is dedicated to creating transformative opportunities for South Carolina youths and adults by supporting low-income, minority, and first-generation students; improving access to college and degree completion; and creating pathways to quality workforce opportunities.

About USC Upstate
The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the South’s best college for veterans and South Carolina’s No. 1 public regional college. It serves as a significant talent producer for the state, with 5,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 15 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.