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 underrepresented 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.
The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) is the host site for the 2014-2016 (Cohort IX) BD program that 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.
This project strengthens the connections between existing LSAMP undergraduate programs and UCLA?s STEM graduate programs with the goal of permanently increasing the number of URMs in the pipeline leading to doctoral programs at UCLA. The activity provides a robust set of graduate student development opportunities that promote mentoring and leadership in STEM communities. The BD students are engaged in mentoring CAMP undergraduates and transfer students to increase excitement and retention in URM STEM majors at UCLA. Linkages to the NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) programming and institutional resources provides support for the participants following the two-year project support.
Best practices for recruitment and retention of graduate student researchers are implemented and built upon lessons learned from previous LSAMP BD host sites. The UCLA BD findings, lessons learned, and impact of the activities are disseminated through publications and presentations at national meetings, and data sharing processes with NSF-affiliated initiatives and diversity consortiums. To date, the California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate activity has supported 93 underrepresented minority (URM) graduate students in in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM] disciplines.
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.