Rice Diversity Graduate Program Encourages Leadership in Science, Math, and Engineering

Rice University's Diversity Graduate Program in Science and Engineering (DGPSE) began this summer with 35 students who are taking part in a research program that encourages science, mathematics, and engineering (SME) enrollment; supports Ph.D. degree completion; and exposes participants to rigorous academic discipline. The program is part of a year-round effort designed to increase the institution's graduate student diversity. Rice outreach to the University of Wisconsin-Madison will create a satellite program to achieve the same goal.

The DGPSE is made possible by a $2.5 million grant Rice received last fall from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of its new Minority Graduate Education (MGE) program. (See "CRPC Minority Education Programs Help Rice Win $2.5 Million Grant.") The award focuses on changes in institutional, departmental, and organizational culture, and on practices that will result in significant increases in recruitment, retention, degree conferral, and career entry.

The Rice DGPSE is designed to meet the NSF MGE objectives of developing and implementing innovative models for recruiting, mentoring, and retaining minority students in SME doctoral programs and developing effective strategies for identifying and supporting underrepresented minorities who want ot pursue academic careers. It builds on the CRPC's highly successful "Spend a Summer with a Scientist (SaS)" program, which for a decade gave undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in university activities and work for the summer under the guidance of center researchers.

"The extensive success of the CRPC's SaS program was a key factor in our obtaining the NSF MGE award," said Richard Tapia, CRPC Director of Education and Human Resources and Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice. "SaS demonstrated how a Science and Technology Center can enhance university culture while tackling one of the nation's most daunting challenges."

For more information on the DGPSE program, contact Theresa Chatman, CPRC Outreach Manager, at (713) 285-5180 or tlc@rice.edu.

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