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Education Notes: Graduate School Pipeline Programs

Although African Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of all U.S. citizens in the average age range of Ph.D. candidates in arts and sciences, only seven percent of all doctoral recipients are black or Latino, according to a 2005 report from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

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AUSTIN, TexasAlthough African Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of all U.S. citizens in the average age range of Ph.D. candidates in arts and sciences, only seven percent of all doctoral recipients are black or Latino, according to a 2005 report from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The University of Texas at Austin offers a wide range of programs designed to bridge this gap and prepare the next generation of students for graduate education, including:

Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Grad School Internship
The Intellectual Entrepreneurship program allows undergraduates to explore the unique aspects of graduate school culture and demystify the application process. Since its inception in 2004, more than 200 students have participated in the program. In 2007, 70 interns enrolled in the program and nearly 50 percent are under-represented minorities.
Contact: Richard Cherwitz, professor of communication studies and director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium, 512-471-1939, spaj737@uts.cc.utexas.edu.

Department of Sociology, Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
Each summer, the 10-week program offers undergraduates the opportunity to apprentice with a Population Research Center faculty affiliate to study demography. More than 150 students have participated in the program since its inception in 1989. Alumni have entered careers in academe and others work in the public sector for organizations such as the United Nations.
Contact: Meghan Thomson, program coordinator, 512-471-6076, meghant@prc.utexas.edu.

Department of Psychology, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)
The SURE program targets undergraduates from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and provides training to help students become more competitive applicants for doctoral training programs. Participants are involved in all aspects of the research process, increasing their knowledge and enthusiasm for laboratory and field work in psychology.
Contact: Rebecca Bigler, professor of psychology and director of the SURE program, 512-471-9917, bigler@psy.utexas.edu.

Lonestar Graduate Diversity Colloquium
During the past decade, the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin has seen significant increases in minority applications and enrollment. The school supports initiatives designed to nurture pipeline programs, including the Lonestar Graduate Diversity Colloquium. Each spring, this statewide event introduces undergraduates, especially under-represented minorities and women, to graduate opportunities at the university.
Contact: Darlene Grant, associate dean, graduate recruitment and outreach, 512-471-0532, d.grant@austin.utexas.edu.

Pre-Law Institutes
The School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin leads the nation in producing Hispanic and African American graduates. Each year, the school partners with Pre-Law Institutes at UT-San Antonio, UT-Pan American and UT-El Paso that have expanded the pool of Hispanic applicants to the Law School.
Contact: Beth Youngdale, lecturer, School of Law, 512-232-1263, byoungdale@law.utexas.edu.

Graduates Linked with Undergraduates in Engineering (GLUE)
Hosted by the Women in Engineering Program each spring, GLUE provides undergraduates the opportunity to gain practical research experience by working with graduate students in their majors. Students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a research project for five hours per week.
Contact: Tricia Berry, director, Women in Engineering Program, 512-471-5650, tsberry@mail.utexas.edu.

Texas Research Experience Program (TREX)
Hosted by the Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program for more than 15 years, TREX has created valuable research opportunities for more than 325 undergraduate engineering students. Participants receive a stipend, gain laboratory experience and learn about research careers in academic and industry.
Contact: Andrea Ogilvie, director, Equal Opportunity in Engineering Program, 512-471-5953, aogilvie@mail.utexas.edu.

McDonald Observatory’s Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
An astronomical observatory provides a unique mixture of pure and applied science, relying on people with a unique skill set: engineers with knowledge of astronomical techniques and astronomers with knowledge of engineering. The McDonald Observatory funds an undergraduate research program to encourage students to pursue careers in instrumentation and astronomical engineering.
Contact: Matthew Shetrone, research scientist, McDonald Observatory, 432-426-4168, shetrone@astro.as.utexas.edu.

Environmental Science Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
Each summer, the Environmental Science Institute and Jackson School of Geosciences invite undergraduates from around the country to a 10-week undergraduate research program that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Students learn how to conduct research, design their own short projects and present their work at an end-of-summer student symposium.
Contact: Jay Banner, director, Environmental Science Institute, 512-471-5016, banner@mail.utexas.edu.


$1.1 Million Grant for McNair Scholars Awarded to University
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a $1.1 million Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program grant to The University of Texas at Austin to increase the enrollment of underrepresented groups in graduate programs. The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, in collaboration with the university’s Academic Enrichment Services and the TRIO Student Support Services, will use the funding to annually identify, recruit and prepare for graduate school 25 eligible college students from low-income, first-generation and other underrepresented groups in graduate education.
Contact: Deb Duval, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, 512-232-7599, deb_duval@mail.utexas.edu.

For more information contact: Jennifer McAndrew, public affairs specialist, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-4730.