The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program assists universities and colleges in their efforts to significantly increase the numbers of students matriculating into and successfully completing high quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in order to diversify the STEM workforce. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, and relevant educational experiences in support of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. These strategies facilitate the production of well-prepared students highly-qualified and motivated to pursue graduate education or careers in STEM.
The need for cultivating STEM talent has been well established. For the United States (U.S.) to remain globally competitive, it is vital that it taps into the talent of all its citizens and provides exceptional educational preparedness in STEM areas that underpin the knowledge-based economy. American students from diverse ethnic groups are underrepresented in STEM fields, and represent an untapped resource for the STEM workforce in the U.S. The University System of Maryland (USM) LSAMP, which began in 1995, will use STEM training as a conduit for mutual benefit of U.S. citizens: a program that at a basic level makes tomorrow better than today for as many students as possible, and a program that facilitates the conscious development of large numbers of underrepresented students with STEM skills who will contribute to America's innovation and competitiveness. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), lead institution of the USM LSAMP, in partnership with long-time alliance members the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), seeks to expand the alliance by adding new Associate Members from Towson University and Frostburg University, and Community College Collaborators from the STEM tracks of Prince George's Community College, Anne Arundel Community College, and the Community College of Baltimore County. The USM LSAMP will continue to build foundations for cultivating and mentoring the next generation of leaders through four pillars of STEM: (1) STEM Identity, (2) Sense of Community, (3) Strength-based Approaches, and (4) Institutional Culture Shift. The four pillars will be operationalized via four programmatic focus areas that are (1) Participation, (2) Performance, (3) Preparation, and (4) Presentation. Participation consists of a book-ended support structure. On the front end, bridge programming will be utilized for both incoming freshmen and community college transfer students. On the back end, preparation for graduate school will be integrated into the undergraduate experience to pave the way for STEM graduate degrees. Performance will focus on bolstering students' math performance. In addition to tutorial support throughout the year, USM LSAMP students will also have the opportunity to participate in the USM Winter Mathematics Institute. Preparation will emphasize undergraduate research as a pathway to the Ph.D. USM LSAMP students will have opportunities to conduct research during the academic year on each of the USM LSAMP campuses. The alliance will use presentation as a means to foster both professional and leadership development. Participants will have opportunities to present their research domestically and internationally. The leadership of USM LSAMP who are STEM professionals endeavor to change lives, families, and society by helping the next generation of STEM leaders pursue the path of STEM excellence.
The knowledge-generating research study, entitled ?Invoking STEM Identity through Purpose-Driven Research Preparation and Sense of Community?, will test a theory-driven model that positions racial/ethnic climate, science self-efficacy, sense of belonging, academic/social integration, and science identity as mediators to explain pathways to persistence and success in STEM. The model will be examined using both quantitative and qualitative data for the USM LSAMP program as a whole as well as for each program component. Whether the pathways differ by ethnicity, gender, and transfer status will also be explored.