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Minorities in Physics

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  1. Minorities in Physics David Ernst Vanderbilt UniversityFisk University

  2. Outline • Statistics • Fisk/Vandbilt Masters to PhD Bridge Program • Columbia Bridge Program • Berkeley Edge Program

  3. Under Represented Minorities Fraction

  4. (URM PhD’s / URM population)/(PhD’s/Population)

  5. Where are the minorities in science? Top producers of Black physics baccalaureates are all HBCUs. • Top 10 producers of Black physics baccalaureates are all HBCUs. • Just 20 HBCUs produce 55% of Black physics baccalaureates. • Future PhDs: HBCUs are the top 8, and are 20 of the top 50, baccalaureate origin institutions of future African American PhDs in STEM fields.

  6. Nashville, Tennessee • Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program • Get the preparation you need to earn a PhD • Earn a Masters degree in physics or biology at Fisk, with full funding support. • Get valuable, paid research experience. • Receive preparation for the GRE. • Get fast-track admission to the Vanderbilt PhD program, with full funding support. • Physics & Astronomy • Biology • Biomedical sciences • Materials science

  7. Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program Recruiting: • Meetings – booth at Annual NSBP/NSHP meeting (minimal) • Become a part of the meeting – organize sessions, get your faculty invited talks, participate in outreach, etc. • Be there every year • Judge posters • Introduce yourself to students • Become a part of the minority physics community, join NSBP and/or NSHP and volunteer, get involved • Example, me – President and co-Founder of NSHP, co-Chair of the Program Committee of the Joint Annual Conference of NSBP/NSHP, co-Chair of the Division of Nuclear/Particle Physcs Division of NSBP, Fellow of NSBP, co-founder and member AIP Liaison Committee for Under-represented Minorities; member AAPM Subcommittee on Minority Recruitment • Be pro-active, go out and find the students

  8. Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program Who: • Realize grades and GRE’s are limited information • Realize you are not looking for perfect on paper student if you wish to expand the pool • Looking for “unrealized potential”

  9. Identifying Unrealized Potential: Emerging Practice • Holistic and informal • Range of inputs and criteria • Performance in relevant coursework • Personal statement • Letters of recommendation • Interviews, informal interactions at conferences • Leadership, community service

  10. Identifying Unrealized Potential: Emerging Practice What qualities predict success? What roles are we looking for? • Students with commitment and academic potential • Productive, creative, entrepreneurial researchers • Effective teachers and mentors • Transformational leadership? • Passion • Initiative, “fire in the belly” • Hard work • Success in relevant courses • Persistence in the face of hardship A critical next step: Tracking and systematizing Bridge Program selection practices

  11. Mentoring: • Key to retention • Multi-dimensional • Personal, academic, research, support, critical, etc. • Teach students about and help them build a network of mentors • 5 faculty: Fisk/Vanderbilt (Burger, Collins), Vanderbilt/Fisk (Stassun, Ernst, Holley-Bockelmen) • Staff: Vanderbilt (Alyce Bobyns-Ladd), Fisk (Consti Coca)

  12. Monitor: • Goal: watch 2nd order derivative • Formal meetings three times/year • Casual conversations • Formal role for students in program (social organizers, student participation in Friday lunches)

  13. Transition points: • Entry • Fisk to Vanderbilt, Masters to PhD (almost seamless, but do require formal admission by Vanderbilt Program Committee) • Course work to research

  14. Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program Programmatic requirements and benefits: • Joint advising committees: Involvement of potential PhD advisors from the start, enhanced communication and tracking of progress • Requirement of coursework at Vanderbilt: Become known to Vanderbilt faculty, complete PhD requirements • Masters degree requirements: Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics I, Electricity and Magnetism I, Statistical Mechanics, Electives • PhD degree requirements: Above, plus E&M II and Quantum II (physics) or Stars, Galaxies, Radiative Processes (astronomy), Electives • Requirement of research at Vanderbilt: Demonstrate ability in the lab, develop faculty advocates • Areas of joint Vanderbilt/Fisk research: Observational astronomy, computational astrophysics, detector development (“astro-materials”) • “Programmatic Offerings”: Seminar on academic culture, participate in professional meetings, “Bridge Club” Note: Not a “back door”: Must satisfy same PhD requirements as all PhD students.

  15. Metrics of success: Money $25.1M

  16. Metrics of success: Human capital • Since 2004: • 38 Bridge students • 35 Underrepresented minorities (all US citizens) • 59% female • 91% retention rate • Since 2006: • Fisk is top producer of Black MA degrees in physics • In 2010-11: • Vanderbilt becomes top producer of minority PhDs in physics, astronomy, materials science

  17. Metrics of Success: Human Capital

  18. Columbia Bridge to PhD Program • In Physical Sciences • 2nd year • Look for nearly admitable students • 7 students, 6 students (2 astronomy, 0 physics) • 2 years as employee in lab, personalized mix of courses and research • Risk shared between the department and and university • Programmatic activities • Manpower intensive (Marcel Aqueros + staff)

  19. Berkeley EDGE program • Part of California AGEP program • Summer program for students already admitted • Summer before entering graduate school • Minorities only • 5 years as a STEM program (based on a math program) • 75 students • Students nominated by departments • Study skills, time management, summer research

  20. THANK YOU