Increasing Diversity in STEM through Research Experiences and Academic and Social Support
E&ER worked with the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (LA-STEM) Research Scholars Program at the Louisiana State University (LSU) to document program impacts for students. LA-STEM seeks to promote student retention in STEM majors and encourage entry to Ph.D. programs, particularly for those from groups underrepresented in the sciences. Findings indicate that the program has met its objectives to recruit diverse and talented students to LSU, retain them in STEM majors, and encourage their entry to advanced degree programs. Structured program elements worked effectively to integrate students academically and socially to campus life at LSU and promoted their academic success.
E&ER conducted an evaluation of Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS), a program designed to promote careers in atmospheric science research among students from underrepresented groups. SOARS engages students in an intensive summer research experience working closely with a scientific mentor. Our study investigated student outcomes and examined the role of various structural elements in supporting these outcomes. Types of student gains matched those identified in our four-college study. Multiple mentors, the establishment of strong peer collegiality, ongoing student professional development, engagement in research, and strong financial support are critical program components.
Evaluation of the LA-STEM program was supported by the National Science Foundation under award MPS-0228717 to LSU. Evaluation of SOARS was supported by the National Science Foundation under award ATM-0401704, and by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these reports are those of the researchers, and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation.
Increasing Diversity in the Biosciences
The NIH/HHMI Scholars Program for Diversity in the Biosciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder targets ethnic minority and first-generation, low-income students and offers a multi-year research experience. E&ER has conducted an evaluation of the NIH Scholars program utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods. NIH Scholars students gained valuable intellectual and professional knowledge and skills from their participation in research, and increased their interest in graduate programs in the biosciences.
Thiry, H. & Laursen, S.L. (2009). Student outcomes from undergraduate research: An evaluation of three academic year and summer undergraduate research programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007-2008. (Report to the Biological Science Initiative and the NIH Scholars Program for Diversity in the Biosciences). Boulder, CO: University of Colorado at Boulder, Ethnography & Evaluation Research.