Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Research Is for Undergrads, Too

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Research Is for Undergrads, Too

Article excerpt

Research is for Undergrads, Too.

Undergraduate research, specifically in the pure and applied sciences, benefits students, departments and the potential graduate schools that the students may attend.

Research performed by an undergraduate student helps to extend the field of communication between a student and a professor. By communicating in a setting outside of the classroom, the professor can learn what aspect of the discipline the student finds most interesting and advise him or her about research information in that field.

Many times, if research performed by a student at an institution is an enjoyable experience, he or she may choose to continue in that area of research. With this in mind, if undergraduate research is increased at historically Black colleges and universities, graduate schools will start to see an increase in the amount of African American applicants applying to their graduate programs in the pure and applied sciences.

Various programs have already been implemented at Hampton University, as well as other HBCUs. A strong emphasis has been placed on undergraduate research to prepare students for graduate school.

Successful Programs

An example of a program at Hampton that encourages undergraduate research is Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC). Supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this program is aimed at preparing students for careers in biomedical and related fields. Students receive a full-tuition scholarship, a monthly stipend, book allowance and financial support to attend professional meetings.

Students between their freshman and senior year in the biological sciences, chemistry and marine science are targeted. Started in 1993, 90 percent of the program's participants have gone on to graduate school.

Another program at Hampton, Research Careers for Minority Students (RCMS), also trains students in research and aims them toward graduate school. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation. Participants receive a partial scholarship and are assigned mentors for research. Junior and senior year students in biological sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics are targeted. Begun in 1991, 50 percent of the participants have continued on to graduate schools across the country. …

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