Paper No. 16-3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
URM RETENTION THROUGH IBP’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND MENTORING ACTIVITIES
As a not for profit organization, the Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) hosts a variety of initiatives designed to increase the retention of underrepresented minority (URM) students pursuing pathways in STEM. Successful initiatives include virtual and face-to-face components that bring together URM students with established URM and other scientists in academia, government and industry. These connections provide URMs with mentoring, networking opportunities, and professional skill development contributing to an improved retention rate of URM students. IBP’s initiatives include the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (NASA OSSI), Pathways to Ocean Science and Engineering, and the Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD’S) in Earth System Science (ESS) Professional Development Program. The NASA OSSI recruits and facilitates student engagement in NASA education and employment opportunities. Pathways to Ocean Science connects and supports URM students with Ocean Science REU programs and serves as a resource for REU program directors. Pathways to Engineering has synthesized mentoring resources into an online mentoring manual for URM students that has been extensively vetted by mentoring experts throughout the country. The mentoring manual, which is organized by roles, provides undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, faculty and project directors with valuable resources. MS PHD’S, one of IBP’s longest running and most successful initiatives, focuses on increasing the retention rate of URM students receiving advanced degrees in ESS. The program addresses barriers to retention in ESS including isolation, lack of preparation and professional development, and lack of mentoring. Program activities center on peer-to-peer community building, professional development exercises, networking experiences, one-on-one mentoring, and a facilitated virtual community. MS PHD’S students report a reduced sense of isolation, an increased sense of community, and a higher level of confidence about their ability to succeed in their chosen field. 42 MS PHD’S alumni have completed their PhD and are actively engaged in the ESS workforce. Lastly, IBP also assists with formative program evaluation design and implementation to help strengthen URM recruitment and retention elements.