UMD Receives $1M in Federal Funding to Help Increase Number of Minority Students Graduating with STEM Degrees
Submitted: December 15, 2016
College Park, Md. — The University System of Maryland (USM) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program was recently awarded a continuing grant of $5 million from the National Science Foundation to increase substantially the quantity and quality of underrepresented minority students receiving baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The USM LSAMP program includes alliance partners at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD); University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); and University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES). Of the total continuing grant, the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering at UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering was awarded $1 million.
“The University of Maryland and the Clark School offer many resources to help students succeed—but what makes LSAMP special is that it provides support to students academically and personally from pre-college all the way to the doctorate level,” said Kenya Colvin, president of the UMD LSAMP Student Leadership Board and undergraduate student majoring in chemical engineering. “The LSAMP programs have helped me grow academically, personally, and as a researcher. This continued grant is so important because now many more students can benefit from the same opportunities I have had to prepare me for success at the undergraduate and graduate school level.”
The USM LSAMP program has trained and supported thousands of students over the years, directly through financial support and indirectly through influencing institutional climates that foster and celebrate diversity. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies and relevant educational experiences in support of racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. These strategies facilitate the production of well-prepared students highly qualified and motivated to pursue graduate education or careers in STEM.
Results show impressive outcomes for the program. For USM LSAMP students overall, 80.1% persisted in the sciences. Among those who graduated, 95.1% completed an undergraduate degree in the sciences. Further, the cumulative college GPA was 3.03 for all USM LSAMP students.*
At the institutional level, the UMD LSAMP Program has also made a significant impact for underrepresented freshman engineering students. Through their premiere retention program, the Bridge Program for Scientists and Engineers, UMD LSAMP provides comprehensive academic support, professional development, leadership opportunities, graduate school preparation, international experiences, and exposure to undergraduate research.
An important goal of the UMD LSAMP Program is to increase the calc-readiness of incoming underrepresented freshman engineering students. Ninety-five percent of the 2015 Bridge cohort enrolled in Calculus I or above in the fall 2015 semester. Of those Bridge students enrolled in Calculus I, 89.5% of students passed (earned a C- or higher). This is higher than the overall pass rate of 67% for all UMD students taking Calculus that semester.†
Additionally, the four-year graduation rate of Bridge students has increased steadily since the LSAMP grant was awarded to UMD in 1995. Over the last 10 years, the four-year graduation rate increased from 25% to 55%. This data indicates that LSAMP Bridge students are graduating at a much faster rate than in past years. As of fall 2015, a total of 202 Bridge students have earned STEM degrees.
Many LSAMP students have continued their education to enroll in and earn STEM graduate degrees. The UMD LSAMP Program has achieved the following post-baccalaureate outcomes:
- 11 UMD LSAMP students have earned Ph.D. degrees in STEM disciplines
- 12 UMD LSAMP students are currently enrolled in STEM Ph.D. programs
- 31 UMD LSAMP students have earned M.S. degrees in STEM disciplines
* Data as of the USM LSAMP Impact Report 2015
† Source: Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment (IRPA)
The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland serves as the catalyst for high-quality research, innovation, and learning, delivering on a promise that all graduates will leave ready to impact the Grand Challenges (energy, environment, security, and human health) of the 21st century. The Clark School is dedicated to leading and transforming the engineering discipline and profession, to accelerating entrepreneurship, and to transforming research and learning activities into new innovations that benefit millions. Visit us online at www.eng.umd.edu and follow us on Twitter @ClarkSchool.