Graduate Education Alliance Ignites Minority Enrollment in Doctoral Programs
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is the newest member of a five-school alliance seeking to increase the number of underrepresented students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics doctoral programs in Mississippi.
Since the inception of the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi, the number of graduating minority doctoral students at the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State Univer-sity, Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi has increased from 13 between 1992-1997 to 49 between 1999-2004.
The alliance hosted its winter symposium Jan. 20-22 in Jackson. The conference is one of several alliance activities to encourage students to enroll in science, technology, engineering and mathematics doctoral programs.
Approximately 400 people, including undergraduate and graduate students, attended the conference, said Juanyce D. Taylor, statewide project coordinator for the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi. Conference activities were at the Mississippi e-Center on Raymond Road and the Jackson Marriott Downtown on East Amite Street.
The highlight of the conference was a 7:30 p.m. banquet Jan. 21 at the Marriot featuring NAACP chairman Julian Bond.
The Medical Center plans to use its membership in the alliance as a way to recruit students underrepresented in its School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, said Dr. Ing K. Ho, dean of the graduate school.
Of the 276 students enrolled in the graduate program, 19 percent are African-American, 16 percent are Asian Pacific and 1 percent is Hispanic.
“Students get into PhD programs thinking their careers will be doing research,” Ho said. “Research is not the only area for them to pursue a career. They don’t realize how broad the market is.”
Students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can seek academic faculty positions or government jobs, said Dr. Rob Rockhold, director of the Medical Center’s Professional Portal Track-Master of Biomedical Science program.
“Increasingly, there are openings for people who are trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in non-traditional careers such as editing books, Websites and encyclopedias,” said Rockhold, who is also a Medical Center professor of pharmacology and toxicology. “Many students don’t see that as an opportunity because they don’t see it as the traditional end point of all their training. They don’t see the merger between the literature-based fields and their technical training.”
Ho and Rockhold were co-investigators on the alliance’s most recent grant application. A five-year, $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation funds the alliance.
The grant is used to fund activities including the annual conference and workshops to relate to graduate training and career issues, such as job hunting, interview skills, how to write a resume, writing an effective curriculum vitae and finding a good mentor.
The grant also helps provide stipends for students, assists students with the costs of attending regional and national meetings and supports student research.
— Thyrie Bland
2005-01-24 00:00:00 2583
Copyright © 2003 The University of Mississippi Medical Center. All Rights Reserved.