The goal of this new Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity (IMSD) proposal is to build on an existing IMSD program at Emory University to increase the diversity of the scientific workforce. In spite of many years of increased focus on diversity, the rate of enrollment and graduation of under-represented (UR) students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the biological and behavioral sciences is markedly lower that of the general population. Emory University is a highly rated teaching and research institution with over 14,200 students that is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Emory?s record of recruiting, retaining and graduating diverse students is significant. Approximately 15% of each entering graduate class is underrepresented (UR); undergraduate classes are 20%, having doubled since the early 90?s. The biomedical and behavioral science departments at Emory awarded 1,667 BS, 805 MS and 149 PhD degrees to UR students in the most recent fifteen-year period. After receiving only three years of support in 2013, Emory?s Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program has made significant progress towards enhancing the mentoring environment and providing career development and support to undergraduate and graduate students. The long- term goal of the Emory IMSD is to increase the average number of UR students obtaining PhDs in the biomedical sciences by placing at least two-thirds of IMSD Undergraduate Scholars in graduate programs and graduating 90% of IMSD Graduate Fellows and placing them in strong postdoctoral positions. In this new IMSD proposal, we seek to continue our success and further enhance the impact of the Emory IMSD as we develop an inclusive community and a continuum of mentoring and career development programming via three specific aims and a structured plan to transition from the prior leadership to a new leadership team.
Aim 1 will continue with efforts to build a learning community of IMSD Undergraduate Scholars. We will increase the number of Emory undergraduate UR students majoring in the biomedical/behavioral/quantitative sciences who receive a Ph.D. in a science-related field to 12 per year. This will more than double our ten-year average that existed when the Emory IMSD program was first proposed (4.8 per year from 2003-2012) and remove all demographic disparity.
Aim 2 will enhance and build a learning community of IMSD Graduate Fellows. Through these efforts, we will recruit 40 additional UR PhD students over five years, with over 90% completing the PhD. Finally, Aim 3 will provide formal training in mentoring for both faculty and graduate students in the Emory community and the greater Atlanta area by continuing efforts to develop a community of mentors, the Atlanta Society of Mentors (ASOM), with transferable skills applicable at all levels and adept in issues of diversity.
These aims will have significant impact by building on our prior success with creating an inclusive and integrated community of undergraduate scholars, graduate fellows and program faculty that enhances the culture of learning at Emory University and increases diversity within the scientific workforce.
This new Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) proposal will continue an established IMSD Program effort to increase the number of those individuals from groups that are under-represented in STEM fields that continue on in research and research-related careers. The proposed aims build on our success in creating an integrated learning community of IMSD Undergraduate Scholars, Graduate Fellows, and a formal mentoring mechanism for faculty at Emory and the broader Atlanta Community. A new IMSD leadership team working closely with those who established the original IMSD at Emory enjoys strong support from numerous units at Emory University to achieve the proposed goals.