The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program assists universities and colleges in diversifying the STEM workforce through their efforts at significantly increasing the numbers of students successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming STEM education through innovative recruitment and retention strategies and experiences in support of groups historically under-represented in STEM disciplines: African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. The Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) Activity provides support for postbaccalaureate studies in STEM programs leading to the STEM doctoral degree.
Delaware State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) institution, is the host site for the 2014-2016 (Cohort XII) BD program for the Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation under the leadership of Drexel University. The program supports a graduate student cohort of 12 underrepresented minority (URM) STEM Ph.D. students from LSAMP campuses across the nation. The BD Activity provides extensive training in specific STEM disciplines as well as professional development and guidance that promote peer mentoring and leadership in the scientific community. Students receive rigorous academic and research training experiences that support completion of the Ph.D. and the transition to a competitive career in academia and industry.
Over the duration of the project and beyond, the BD program at DSU serves to increase the number and quality of students from underrepresented groups completing STEM Ph.D. degrees and entering the professoriate. It enhances partnerships, research collaborations, and articulation strategies between an HBCU and several major majority-serving research institutions within the Greater Philadelphia alliance as well as national laboratories. The project activities have the potential to develop a model approach which may be viable for use by Masters-level, minority-serving institutions to promote the movement of students from underrepresented groups through to STEM doctoral completion.
The long-term impact of the BD activity is reflected in America's STEM workforce, both in academia and in industrial research and development. By nurturing the future professoriate, as well as the scientific workforce, the value added is seen in the visibility of minorities in science and engineering, increasing representation and providing role models and motivation for the next generation.