NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Program Renewed
UConn has received for the second time, under Provost and Executive Vice President Mun Choi’s leadership, NSF funding for the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) program. The program provides fellowships for underrepresented students pursuing Ph.D.s in STEM disciplines.
There are currently 12 BD fellows, supported with a 2012 NSF grant. With the new NSF funding, we will take on another 12 doctoral students (from African American, Hispanic and/or Native American populations) for the first two years of graduate study in a STEM subject area. The funding, which was announced in May, provides $986,990 for two years.
The BD Fellows will be placed throughout the spectrum of STEM units in the School of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; and the School of Pharmacy.
To ensure the program’s success, faculty members are encouraged to recommend eligible students who could benefit from the program. Faculty members in the STEM disciplines are also encouraged to apply as advisors to the students in the program. Deadline for submissions is July 18.
The program provides fellowships – $30,000 per calendar year, plus tuition and health insurance – for the students’ first two years of their graduate studies at UConn. Other benefits include workshops for developing professional skills, opportunities for mentorships and volunteering, and career preparation. BD Fellows also receive guidance in developing study plans and roadmaps of academic milestones.
BD Fellow advisors will develop a customized, individual plan of study that will include required coursework, supervised teaching, and weekly progress meetings. Fellows will also receive guidance in teaching, team skills, and career development. Fellow advisors will remain a mentor and a point of technical contact during and post-graduation. BD Fellows will also help the programs internal and external evaluators assess the Fellows’ development.
UConn joined the Northeast LSAMP 13 years ago. Since then, the number of underrepresented students graduating with STEM degrees at UConn has more than quadrupled. Other LSAMP partners are Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Rhode Island and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
There’s growing evidence of the importance of programs like LSAMP. Studies find that STEM jobs are growing at a rate three times faster than those in non-STEM fields and that STEM employees earn up to 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts. Underrepresented students, however, make up less than one percent of STEM-related Ph.D. degrees awarded in the U.S.