North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) will use a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to implement a program to increase STEM graduate students from underrepresented populations, particularly Ph.Ds.
The two-year, $1,075,000 grant will go toward the Preparing Future Minority Ph.D. Researcher (PFMPR) Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) program. PRMPR plans to recruit and graduate 12 underrepresented STEM Ph.D. students, teaching these BD Fellows career readiness skills and self-efficacy to excel in their respective fields.
The grant was given through the NSF’s North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation STEM Pathways and Research Alliance (NC-LSAMP SPRA).
“Our approach is to diversify STEM doctoral degree holders in the U.S., with a specific focus on URMs,” said Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson, provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs and the program’s principal investigator (PI).
“Integration with LSAMP programs and STEM feeder schools will enhance our recruitment of well-prepared undergraduate students who will enter and complete our doctoral programs,” Smith-Jackson said. “The culturally reflective mentoring will fill a critical gap in how universities meet the needs of all doctoral students by advancing retention practices and building social capital.”
Participants will undergo training to increase quantity and quality of fellowship applications, particularly to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and other prestigious fellowships.
“As the largest historically Black university in the nation, N.C. A&T educates a significant number of URMs at the undergraduate level and thus has a tremendous opportunity to launch, test, and refine a framework of support for transitioning students into doctoral programs,” said Dr. Clay Gloster, vice provost of graduate research and Graduate College dean and program co-PI. “We are implementing a model that can be evaluated, refined, and disseminated to other LSAMP BD institutions.”