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A Bridge to the Ph.D. for URM Students

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track : Graduate - Technical Session 10

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Graduate Education

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Paper Authors

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Ashleigh Wright North Carolina State University


Rebecca Brent Education Designs, Inc

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Rebecca Brent is President of Education Designs, Inc., a consulting firm located in Chapel Hill, N.C. She is a certified program evaluator and a faculty development consultant. Brent received her B.A. from Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., her M.Ed. from Mississippi State University, and her Ed.D. from Auburn University. She was an Associate Professor of education at East Carolina University before starting her consulting firm in 1996.

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Elizabeth C. Dickey North Carolina State University Orcid 16x16

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Professor Elizabeth Dickey is a Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University. She also directs an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on Dielectric and Piezoelectric Materials, and she is the director of an NSF Research Traineeship program on Data-Enabled Science and Engineering of Atomic Structure.

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Kimberly S. Weems North Carolina Central University

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Kimberly S. Weems is Associate Professor of Mathematics at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Her research interests include generalized linear models and statistics education. Since joining NCCU in 2015, she has been instrumental in enhancing the graduate mathematics curriculum with statistics courses. She is the 2017 recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award. Weems earned her BS in mathematics from Spelman College and her MA and PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed postdoctoral studies in the Statistics Department at NC State University, where she later joined the faculty and served for two years as Co-Director of Statistics Graduate Programs until moving to NCCU. She is a member of the American Statistical Association and the National Association of Mathematicians as well as an advisory board member of the Infinite Possibilities Conference for women of color in mathematics.

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Brian J. Reich North Carolina State University

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Caesar R. Jackson North Carolina Central University

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A Bridge to the PhD for URM Students

Keywords: Graduate, Race/Ethnicity

A five-year NSF-funded National Research Traineeship features a unique partnership between a large research university and a historically black college/university (HBCU). This presentation will describe a component of the traineeship that serves as a bridge to the doctorate in engineering and mathematical science programs for underrepresented minority master’s degree candidates in physics and mathematics. Bridge trainees participate with doctoral trainees in all elements of the traineeship program, including seminars on selected technical and professional skills, multidisciplinary coursework, faculty-student research groups, laboratory rotations, internships, and mentoring of students by individual faculty members and faculty teams. Faculty advisors at the HBCU and the program coordinator from the research university work cooperatively to structure and provide additional professional development to the bridge trainees, including sessions on succeeding in graduate school and applying successfully to PhD programs once their master’s degree programs have been completed. Connections between the faculty and students at the HBCU and the research university have been strong, with seminars and research group meetings being held regularly at each institution and both doctoral and bridge trainees regularly presenting their research.

The presentation and paper will provide an overview of the bridge program, give specific details about the involvement of the HBCU students in the traineeship program elements, and summarize evaluation data and lessons learned in the first two years of the program.

Wright, A., & Brent, R., & Dickey, E. C., & Weems, K. S., & Reich, B. J., & Jackson, C. R. (2019, April), A Bridge to the Ph.D. for URM Students Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--31735

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