LSAMP Interdisciplinary and Societally Relevant STEM Bridges to the Doctorate - Cohort VII

  • Garcia, Antonio (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) will leverage a well established network of LSAMP scholars and mentors, partner with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and expand an innovative Applied Mathematics in Life and Social Sciences (AMLSS) doctoral program to produce a cohort of 12 Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) Scholars that will be more successful at achieving doctoral degrees than majority graduate students. Our strategy to achieve this is based on a careful analysis of student success data from our previous 6 BD cohorts, applied research on the Personal Potential Index (PPI) by ETS and the GRE, and a substantial body of research in the literature about persistence and completion of students in STEM doctoral research programs. Importantly, our proposed LSAMP Interdisciplinary and Societally Relevant STEM Bridges to the Doctorate - Cohort VII project is designed to graduate doctoral students with a powerful combination of scholarly achievement and key noncognitive personal attributes who in turn will have a transformational impact in the way that math, science, and engineering principles are applied to help solve global problems. The Intellectual Merit of the proposed project is the practical evaluation and demonstration of the value of non-cognitive indicators of success in graduate retention and advancement that research findings and common sense strongly suggest are very important. More specifically, we will demonstrate and evaluate how diagnosing key student non-cognitive personal attributes before and after entering a graduate program followed by deliberate strengthening of these key non-cognitive personal attributes via expert mentoring and program activities affect underrepresented student doctoral program transition. Based on research in non-cognitive predictors of graduate program success and pilot data collected through a partnership with the GRE on Project 1000 students, the following six broad attributes have been identified as the best predictors of graduate student success, retention, and completion through the Ph.D. degree. These broad categories include both proficiency skills, such as (1) Knowledge and Creativity; (2) Communication Skills; (3) Teamwork; as well as interpersonal factors, such as (4) Resilience; (5) Planning and Organization; and (6) Ethics and Integrity. Extensive in-depth interviews with faculty GRE users (Walpole, M. B., Burton, N. W., Kanyi, K., & Jackenthal, A., 2001) when combined with a thorough review of the educational research literature (ETS, 2008) point to Resilience (Diverse, 2009), which encompasses both persistence/tenacity (works extremely hard/can overcome challenges and setbacks) as well as a measure of emotional responsiveness (accepts feedback without getting defensive and works well under stress), as being extremely important and too often overlooked and undervalued as an indicator of successful graduate outcome, particularly when evaluated in conjunction with the other five. What has not been investigated or attempted is the proactive development and strengthening of both aspects of Resilience, persistence/tenacity and emotional responsiveness, simultaneously with efforts to develop and strengthen the other five key attributes as well, prior to having students enter a doctoral program. The Bridge to the Doctorate program provides a useful way to transition LSAMP students from the undergraduate to doctoral programs, with the potential Broader Impact of developing a model that could be disseminated to benefit all students by improving doctoral degree attainment in STEM fields nationally.2
Effective start/end date8/1/107/31/13


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $987,000.00

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