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NSF Center for Biophotonics Science & Technology (CBST) Creating Positive Interactions Between URG’s and STC’s Marco Molinaro, Ph.D. And all class of 2000 and 2002 Education and Diversity Directors STC Broadening Participation Meeting San Francisco March 2007.

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NSF Center for Biophotonics Science & Technology


Creating Positive Interactions Between URG’s and STC’s

Marco Molinaro, Ph.D.

And all class of 2000 and 2002 Education and Diversity Directors

STC Broadening Participation Meeting San Francisco

March 2007


Work supported by the National Science Foundation

Cooperative Agreement No. PHY-0120999

outline for session
Outline for Session

Systematically Improve STC - URG connections

  • Overview of STC/URG project (Oct 2004 - now)
  • Big Picture: Models Tried and Lessons Learned
    • Outreach/Recruitment projects
    • Faculty Development
    • Course Development and Experimentation
  • In-Depth Examples
    • Keith Oden - STC-GEM partnership, NSU PhD program, HOFT2
    • Kyle Frantz - Summer Undergraduate Research Study
    • Noureddine Melikechi - Faculty/Student exchange
    • Hands-On FutureTech 1 and 2
  • Best Practices/Lessons Learned/Recommendations
cbst supplement to enhance stc interactions with under represented groups
CBST Supplement to Enhance STC Interactions With Under-represented Groups

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • WHAT: A one time CBST-led STC-wide competitive program to enhance the interactions among under-represented groups and STC’s. Very quick turnaround encouraging entrepreneurial approach.
  • WHO IMPACTED: All 11 STC’s (2000/2002) participated; 9 proposals including 10 centers received over $885k. 3 proposals were multi-STC collaborations.
  • NOTE: Proposals reviewed (F’04) by an external review committee composed entirely of URG faculty from community college to Ph.D. granting institutions.
cbst supplement to enhance stc interactions with under represented groups5
CBST Supplement to Enhance STC Interactions With Under-represented Groups

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

    • Inquiry-based training for graduate students to create hands-on workshops to recruit students with emphasis on URG [CfAO/CBST] $42.6k
    • URG student/Faculty development at DSU (Delaware State) [CBST] $81k
    • STC GEM partnership to expand pipeline - STC focused GEM fellowships [MDITR, NCED, CISM, CBST, NBTC, SAHRA, WaterCAMPWS] $100k
    • Outreach and research experiences at Clark Atlanta and Howard Universities [NBTC] $167.1k
    • Hands-on workshop featuring the latest technologies from 4 STC’s. Over half URG participants to attend [CBST, NBTC, CENS, MDITR] $96.3k
    • Structured research experience versus traditional REU experience - focus on women [CBN]$149.7k
    • REU plus joint activities with NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) [NBTC] $122.9k
    • Community College Curriculum Development [CfAO] $40.5k
    • New PhD development at Norfolk State [MDITR] $47.9k
student recruitment and outreach models tried
Student Recruitment and Outreach - Models Tried

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Small, all day inquiry workshop (Saturday Open Lab) $/student, small numbers (<10), focused
    • Graduate students learned inquiry techniques
    • Several URG students as interns and/or applying for graduate school
  • Larger, Interactive Conference (Hands-On Future Tech Conference 1,2) $$/student, larger numbers (60-120), broad net
    • Several students interested in internships, attending STC institutions
    • Second time (Nov’06) easier, much less expensive, held at NSU (HBCU)
  • Partnering with existing conferences/advocacy organizations for exposure/recruiting low cost, broad net
    • 4000 attended NBTC talk at NSBE, 65 applied for 15 summer internship positions
  • Partnering with existing Fellowship Program (GEM), $$$$/student, long time investment
    • 4 new GEM-STC supported graduate students at STCs
    • Matchmaker database - encourage faculty participation in student recruitment
student recruitment and outreach summary
Student Recruitment and Outreach - Summary

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Solid administrative and staff support critical to success
  • Need longitudinal evaluation structure to monitor impact beyond initial STC contact
  • Project catalyzed strong relationships between multiple STC’s leading to continued cooperation (SOL, HOFT 2)

Evaluator’s Comments

  • Regional recruiting proved valuable according to students [SOL, HOFT]. A strong facilitator, consistent, regular communication about available opportunities and interaction with role models is essential.
  • Establishing regional STC recruiting networks used across multiple years will increase impact and sustainability while reducing long-term recruiting cost.
  • NBTC’s presentation at NSBE national conference and partnerships with New York State NSBE chapters provides a positive model for low-cost, broad spectrum marketing of STCs. The strategy could be easily extended to other S&E professional organizations.
faculty development research connections models tried
Faculty Development/Research Connections - Models Tried

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Shared Equipment/Resources
    • CAU utilized videoconferencing equipment to attend events, including regular seminars, with NBTC partners
    • CAU made AFM available via the internet and working on sharing more equipment (valuable for equipment poor HBCU’s)
  • Faculty - Student Education Conference
    • CBN brought 94 researchers, students and community members together for a Best Practices in Science Education conference looking at active teaching and learning, and diversity issues.
  • Faculty Visits and Research Collaborations
    • CAU and Howard with NBTC
      • Enhanced prior relationships with CAU faculty visits to Cornell starting 3 new projects, sharing equipment and students, sharing a seminar via videoconferencing
    • DSU with CBST
      • Mini sabbatical spawned several combined research projects, student participation and winning of 2 grants (NIH and DoD investigator grants at DSU)
faculty development and research connections summary
Faculty Development and Research Connections - Summary

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Developing meaningful relationships critical and time intensive. Can lead to:
    • Equipment and expertise sharing - bi-directional
    • Access to Online resources of larger universities
    • Broader perspective on URG and HBCU issues
    • Joint project development
  • URG institution faculty eager to collaborate and connect students
    • Issues: Many students interested in research not URG, poor access to journals, some URG students do not want to travel too far or often take summer courses, HBCU resources limited

Evaluator’s Comments

  • Sustainable partnerships between researchers at STCs and HBCUs require clear value for, or commitment from the participating STC.
  • When properly planned and evaluated, sabbaticals at STCs and partnerships between STCs and HBCUs have value. The chance to work and study in the rich environment of an STC proved empowering for the students, established a teaching lab at HBCU and led to additional external research funding at DSU.
  • The NBTC partnership with researchers and faculty at Howard and Clark Atlanta offers a positive model for similar partnerships between STCs and other HBCUs.
program model projects tried
Program/Model Projects Tried

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Community College Course Development
    • Course developed at Maui Community College (CfAO) from a faculty buyout and close collaborations with CfAO research and education staff
    • Funding faculty release time critical at Maui Community College.
  • Summer Research Educational Experiment
    • CBN Research project to compare REU methodologies (publication in Cell Biology Education) - Georgia State added $30k for 5 year study of participants. Raised awareness of educational and diversity issues in science.
  • Helping Develop a New Program
    • MDITR expertise helped develop interdisciplinary PhD program at NSU aimed at needs of industry and federal labs
    • Modest funding effectively leveraged the resources and practices of tier-one universities for the benefit of HBCU’s.
evaluator s final statement spring 2006
Evaluator’s Final Statement…Spring 2006

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • “Together the nine projects directly served over 250 undergraduates and 40 graduate students, the majority of whom are from URGs (including women). Faculty development programs served 15 faculty members from HBCUs. Up to 4,000 people, mainly from URGs, were made aware of STC research through national and regional conferences. “

EDU, Inc. External Evaluation Report

Since… several hundred more have been directly served through HOFT2, GEM recruitment, and other avenues begun through the URG-STC initiative

Keith Oden

STC-GEM partnership

NSU PhD program


faculty development dsu with cbst
Faculty Development - DSU with CBST

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Student Summer Internships
    • New, external research and educational opportunities. “My students not only learned a great deal about a new field (biophotonics) but also gained valuable research experience as they were involved in their projects on a daily basis.”
    • Student interns from varied institutions. “…generated… a sense of belonging to a community of scientists… important point because it tends … to “help” students from small institutions, such as ours, to engage in graduate programs in sciences.”
  • For success need continuity in research experience. “It is important that students continue their research (or engage in another project) at their own institutions. Faculty receiving and providing the students need to collaborate on a research project.

Limitations from my perspective:

    • Faculty members at major institutions are very busy with their own projects and therefore it is difficult to collaborate with them.
    • We do not have the resources to contribute fully to a particular project (which often explains the difficulty forming fruitful collaborations.)
    • Difficulties in using funds (URG grant funds) for research.”

Words of Noureddine Melikechi, DSU

faculty development dsu with cbst16
Faculty Development - DSU with CBST

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Indirect and unexpected benefit - NEW PROJECT:
    • “While at CBST, I met Dr. Doug Taylor and discussed with him what we were doing in my lab. We are currently working together on a project to analyze sera samples.”
  • Timing
    • $$ approved in December but not available until late spring. “By that time, students whom I thought were committed to spend a summer at CBST were no longer available. This applies to me too.”
  • Suggestion:
    • Need access to journals at my institution. “I think that CBST (and others) can help us tremendously by allowing us (as collaborators) to have electronic access to UC Davis library.”
  • In conclusion
    • “I am very happy to have started the collaboration between DSU and UC Davis. This interaction not only helped our students but also will help us –as an institution- grow. The URG project provided an opportunity for us to meet CBST scientists, administrators and others.”

Words of Noureddine Melikechi, DSU

hand on futuretech conference 1 at ucla
Hand-on FutureTech Conference 1 - at UCLA

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

    • 105 Attendees (1 (CBST) , 6 (MDITR) applied for Internship), NBTC and CENS (data unavailable) - 75 undergraduate students
  • KEY SURVEY RESULTS (66/74 responses):
    • Interested in summer internship 4.1/5
    • Conf. helped me learn about STC research opportunities 4.56/5
    • Increased interest in pursuing science 4.42/5
    • All sessions rated from 3.3-4.7/5 - higher the more hands-on
    • Key factors for grad school - $ aid (4.77), mentoring (4.29), reputation (4.21), community (3.95), environment (3.68), majority URG (3.09), family proximity 2.76
hand on futuretech conference 2 at nsu



Hand-on FutureTech Conference 2 - at NSU

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

    • 325 applicants online (18 applied for CBST internship, 6 local)
    • 144 attendees (11 applied for internship CBST, 6 local, 4 applied for MDITR), PREM and CENS (data unavailable)
    • Missing data on 59 applicants who came last minute and did not register online - difficult to get data from multi center situation
  • KEY SURVEY RESULTS (72/101 responses)
    • Interested in summer internship 4.5/5
    • Conf. helped me learn about STC research opportunities 4.76/5
    • Increased interest in pursuing science 4.56/5
    • All sessions rated from 2.97-3.77/4 - higher the more hands-on
    • Key factors for grad school - $ aid (3.76), mentoring (3.58), community (3.23), reputation (3.17), environment (2.79), majority URG (2.49), family proximity 2.18)



student recruitment and outreach best practices
Student Recruitment and Outreach - Best Practices

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

    • Staff “champion” project administrator (not student or junior faculty) helps program's success and continuity.
    • Create a consistent, frequent communication network with targeted MSIs and URG-related associations.
    • Seek alliances with MSIs (e.g., GEM, HBCUs).
    • Start at least 6 to 8 weeks before event.
    • Use professional, competitive-style application process (“exclusive”).
    • Emphasize limited enrollment and early sign-up improves your chances.
    • Face-to-face, in-person recruitment most effective - makes student feel wanted (esp. by faculty)
    • Target students and professional staff at MSIs and URG-related associations and conferences (SACNAS, AISES, NSBP, NSBE, …) and try to get high profile exposure.
    • Faculty/mentor participation improves match between prospective students and program.
    • Provide financial aid and incentives such as travel vouchers, stipends, and housing allowance.
    • Establish regional networks that can last over time
  • Schedule “social” time during events and activities for informal interaction with graduate students, scientists, other role models, and peers.
research connections faculty development best practices
Research Connections/Faculty Development - Best Practices

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

    • Clear value for partners critical. Sustainable partnerships require mutual benefit.
  • A high-level program leader needed at events and activities to demonstrate leadership buy-in, commitment, and support.
  • NSF funding can attract new funding from another source or lead to new proposals.
  • STC faculty and researchers need to understand HBCU culture and constraints.
program development best practices
Program Development - Best Practices

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Detailed URG recruitment strategy and specific activities part of overall program design and timetable
  • Training and professional development for mentors/researchers will increase program managers’ control over the curriculum and students’ experiences.
  • A key, high-level staff person should keep track of faculty/researcher/mentors' commitments to participate in funded programs.
  • EVALUATION: Use program surveys (pre-, mid- and post-program) to capture participants' changes in attitudes and career plans. Ask for summative paper and try to track over several years.
  • Use role models (e.g., URG scientists, women in technology, faculty and other professionals, graduate students) to engage URG students.
  • Invite program participants to conferences as a way to provide sustained interaction between students, faculty members, and working professionals. Provide opportunities to present their work (poster, talk, …)
  • Use repeated, expected events (weekly workshop, …) to build a sense of cohesiveness and camaraderie).
  • Any successful program design, curriculum, or concept should have transferable elements.
program development best practices 2
Program Development - Best Practices 2

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • When developing curricula, the involvement of local advisors and connections with local community leaders and elders ensures culturally relevant programs.
  • Providing HBCUs with access to the expertise, resources, and experiences of tier-one research universities is a powerful catalyst to develop innovative science and engineering degree programs.
  • STCs can quickly transfer to HBCUs practices commonly used at tier-one universities (videoconferencing, collaboratively taught courses, and access to electronic journals and databases.)
  • MDITR’s partnership between U. Washington and NSU created a just-in-time interdisciplinary Ph.D. program aimed at needs of industry and federal labs. Modest funding effectively leveraged the resources and practices of tier-one universities for the benefit of HBCU’s
hbcu constraints best practices for engagement
HBCU Constraints/Best Practices for Engagement

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • In general, HBCUs facilities and resources don’t match STCs.
  • Many HBCUs without access to online academic resources.
  • There can be a real “wow” factor for HBCU students who are able to visit and work at an STC facility - can leave a long-lasting impression.
  • Minimize overlap between program activities and students schedules at HBCU’s.
  • Provide academic credit to students participating in experiential programs. Lack of academic credit can mean lack of incentive.
  • Faculty release time encourages and enables participation.
  • Top HBCU administrator involvement essential to build internal support for new programs.
other general lessons from the field
Other General Lessons From the Field

Systematically Improve URG-STC Interactions

  • Regional Focus critical, helps sustainability, beware of too wide a net. Can create “nodes”
  • Be aware of biases/difficulties/cultural norms when recruiting folks to move away (South East to CA, Reservation populations, …)
  • Relationships take multiple years to be forged, proven and trusted
  • Stereotype/diversity/cultural sensitivity training for all participants
  • Focus on what makes you unique!
  • Make examples, activities, research hands-on and relevant to students.
  • Start collecting participant data NOW! Will help you see progress and synergies between programs as you progress - helps you make good decisions, follow-up with critical interventions, and with future funding
  • Think about the paths through your program - focus on ENGAGEMENT, CAPACITY, CONTINUITY - provide in your program or seek partners that can help
  • Learn to recognize what makes sense, trust your judgment but don’t always believe what you think!