This award will help support the 2010 Summer Research Opportunity Program Conference at Ohio State University. The overall goal of this conference is to engage undergraduate student researchers, primarily from groups underrepresented in the sciences, in high-level scientific discussions, professional development activities, and networking activities.

In order to maintain its global competitiveness, the United States must work vigorously to tap neglected pools of intellectual talent. Students from underrepresented groups are, by definition, represented in the sciences at rates smaller than their fraction of the population. The goal of programs like this is to provide young scientists from these groups with the tools that they need to become successful, productive members of the American technological workforce.

Project Report

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) Conference is the culmination of a summer research experience for undergraduates. SROP is an academic collaboration between the Committee on Institution Cooperation (CIC) and the Big Ten institutions. In 2000, the CIC SROP program received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. SROP is the model for many REUs as well as the Ronald McNair Scholars Program. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study, earn a Ph.D., and undertake research careers. SROP helps prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and other enrichment activities. Over the course of a ten-week summer, Ohio State SROP participants conduct research alongside a faculty mentor. They also participate in workshops on research skills, seminars on topics related to graduate education, and other professional development events. All of these activities are designed to prepare these students for success in graduate school. . Summer 2011 marked the 25th year of this event, and the second consecutive year in which Ohio State’s Graduate School was the campus host. Four hundred nine students participated in the program; 297 are enrolled in STEM fields. The participants represented 159 campuses from 40 states and Puerto Rico. The two-day conference was held July 15-17, 2011. Students arrived on campus, collected their conference information and materials, and proceeded to their sessions, which included a poster session, recruitment fair, roundtable discussions, workshops, STEM panel discussions and deans’ reception dinners. Each of the twelve participating universities invests about $9,000 per student over the course of the summer program. The NSF funds were used to hone the focus for participating STEM students at the conference. These students attended a Friday evening dinner in their prospective academic colleges with faculty and current graduate students. The evening featured opportunities to share a meal with faculty members grouped by discipline and to engage in casual conversation with substantial time for questions and answers. The evening also included lab and research tours. Without the NSF funds, we could not have supported this immersion and quality of interaction with key research faculty. To date, 571 SROP alumni have earned a Ph.D. degree and are now preparing the next generation of Ph.D. scholars and researchers. Thousands of others have completed graduate training and are pursuing successful careers in government, business, and non-profit agencies. The success of this program, in combination with other REU programs, contributes to the goals that our country is striving to achieve with its STEM initiative with an eye toward a more diversified workforce.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Program Officer
Michelle Bushey
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Ohio State University
United States
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