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The Importance Of Graduate Mentors In Undergraduate Research Programs

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Foster Excellence

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1434.1 - 12.1434.12



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Paper Authors

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Jacqueline Fairley Georgia Institute of Tehnology

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Leyla Conrad Georgia Institute of Technology

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Gary May Georgia Institute of Technology

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Importance of Graduate Mentors in Undergraduate Research Programs Abstract

One of the most unsettling problems in higher education has been the dramatic under- representation of African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians in the nation's engineering graduate schools - especially within the ranks of those who hold PhDs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These disparities among the number of whites and minorities who pursue graduate studies are apparent in the findings of Foertsch[1] The latter reported that about 30% of whites with a BS degree go on to graduate school, while only 19% of non-Asian minorities with a BS do the same. In 1995, blacks accounted for only 2.0% of all STEM PhDs, Hispanics for 2.5%, and American Indians for 0.3% - even though within the same year African Americans made up about 12% of the U.S. population, Hispanics 10.2%, and American Indians 0.7%.

The Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering/Science (SURE) program is a ten- week summer research program, at the Georgia Institute of Technology, designed to attract qualified minority students to attend graduate school within the fields of engineering and science and combat the disparities amongst minorities regarding graduate education. We presume that a lack of knowledge, confidence, and support regarding the graduate school intake process are the major contributors to these disparities[2]. In an effort to address these major contributors, the SURE program provides a support system to its student participants via graduate student mentoring. About 90% of SURE participants have pursued graduate education, which may be attributed to the relationship formed through the mentorship program. Graduate student mentors supply knowledge regarding the graduate school intake process and help bolster SURE student participant confidence through one-on-one mentoring and group activities. An 11.5% quality rating increase occurred from 2005 to 2006 in the graduate mentoring program. Information about mentoring techniques and group activities used in the SURE program, during the summer of 2006, that account for this increase is presented.

Fairley, J., & Conrad, L., & May, G. (2007, June), The Importance Of Graduate Mentors In Undergraduate Research Programs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2922

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