U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of Rochester $100,000 to support programs that encourage more women and underrepresented minorities to pursue doctoral degrees. This is the second year the University has received such a grant.
The money is used to create an enriched environment for targeted students, including study groups, a summer research program, and workshops on preparing for graduate school.
The University identifies talented women and members of underrepresented minority groups [African-American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and Native American] when they enter as freshmen, then gives them the extra guidance they may need to succeed in science and math classes. "We help them develop the analytical reasoning, study skills, and self-esteem they need to realize their academic potential," says Jesse Moore, University associate dean of graduate studies.
Before graduation, these students participate in a couple of summer research projects so that they have a clear idea of what research in their chosen discipline is like, and have the skills and background graduate schools expect from top candidates.
Historically, women and members of certain minority groups have not earned doctorates in numbers that reflect their size in the population at large. They are therefore underrepresented in occupations for which doctoral degrees are required, such as teaching and research positions at universities, or research jobs in the industrial sector. The federal education department funds programs like the University's to correct this imbalance.