Expanding the Bridge to Doctorate STARS Program

Sara Wadia-Fascetti, Jackie Isaacs, Rangal Hughes, Richard Harris

Vice Provost of the PhD Network & CEE Professor Sara Wadia-Fascetti, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs & MIE Professor Jacqueline Isaacs, CEE Affiliated Faculty Randall Hughes, and Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Richard Harris were awarded a $1M NSF grant to expand the Northeastern LSAMP BD STARS Fellowship Pathway. They will be partnered with the Northeast LSAMP Alliance, STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute @ IUPUI, and National Research Mentoring Network. The new fellowship program will focus on mentorship and promoting an inclusive culture and builds on their previous award in 2018.

Abstract Source: NSF

The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program assists universities and colleges in diversifying the STEM workforce through their efforts to significantly increase the number of students successfully completing high-quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming STEM education through innovative recruitment and retention strategies and experiences supporting groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African-Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. The Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) Activity supports postbaccalaureate studies in STEM programs leading to the STEM doctoral degree.

Northeastern University (NU) is the host site for the 2022-2024 BD program for the Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NE-LSAMP) under the leadership of the University of Connecticut. NU will support the second cohort of Strategic Advancement of Rising Scholars(STARS), an LSAMP-supported postbaccalaureate program consisting of a student cohort of 12 STEM undergraduate alumni recruited from LSAMP campuses across the nation.

The STARS program incorporates a six Rs model of recruitment, reflection, resources, recourse, retention, and rise. Students receive rigorous academic and experiential research training that supports the completion of the STEM Ph.D. and the transition to a competitive career in academia and industry. Faculty STEM mentor training and development, along with culturally relevant STEM mentoring and evaluation, are prominent features of the program that includes linkages to the National Mentoring Research Network (NMRN), the Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence, and Indiana LSAMP projects. A multi-disciplinary cohort will be recruited. However, the project also leverages programming from a recently-funded NSF INCLUDES project that increases diversity in the engineering discipline.

Formative and summative evaluation activities include evaluation and assessment of the project’s implementation and student outcomes. Project results and annual evaluation reports will be disseminated through the Northeast Alliance and NU’s website and at STEM professional conferences.

The long-term impact of the BD activity is reflected in America’s STEM workforce, both in academia and in industrial research and development. The value added by nurturing future STEM leaders is seen in the visibility of underrepresented groups in science and engineering, increasing representation, and providing role models and STEM leadership for the next generation.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering