Speical SBS Seminar: Michael Summers, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Date: Time: 1:00 pm–2:00 pm
Manter Hall Room: 402A
Additional Info: MANT
Contact: School of Biological Sciences, 402-472-2720, biology@unl.edu
“The Meyerhoff Scholars Program: A Successful Model for Developing a More Inclusive STEM PhD Workforce”

Although African Americans represent approximately 11 percent of all students enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities, they earn fewer than seven percent of all bachelor’s degrees and fewer than two percent of the doctoral degrees in science and engineering. We have developed programs for diversifying our undergraduate and graduate STEM programs that focus on high achievement. Since creating the program in 1988, our goal has been to build a cadre of well prepared minority students who would become leading researchers. We have focused on creating a climate that attracts serious students, sets high expectations, and then takes a proactive approach in helping them to succeed. More than 1500 students have participated in the undergraduate Meyerhoff Scholars Program since its inception in 1988. Of these, 230 students are currently enrolled at UMBC, more than 90% of the graduates earned STEM degrees, > 40% matriculated directly to top PhD or MD-PhD programs, 20% matriculated to STEM Masters program, and 20% entered professional (mainly MD) programs. Many people are surprised to learn that we typically receive 2000-2500 nominations and 800 completed applications (~200 URM students) annually from high achieving high school students, with 80% of these coming from Maryland-area residents. Our data indicate that large numbers of high achieving, well-prepared URM students start college with interest in STEM areas, but few are retained. Similar efforts at the graduate level are now yielding positive results. URM participation in STEM PhD programs has increased over the past 15 years from 3% to 18%, and URM PhD production has increased from 3 graduates in the 10 years preceding our program to 85 graduates over the past 10 years. At the beginning of the current academic year, the Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows program included 102 enrolled URM doctoral students, with a 7-year retenton rate of 92%. The program components of the undergraduate and graduate programs should be replicable at other interested academic institutions.

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