North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) have been jointly awarded a $250,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which through its Pathways to STEM Graduate Education Program is investing millions of dollars in minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to boost the numbers of students of color entering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
With the funding, NCCU is establishing a program enabling students to enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill or other doctorate-granting institutions to obtain a Ph.D. degree in chemistry or a related field after earning their master’s degree in chemistry at NCCU. Abdul Mohammed, Ph.D., professor and chair of NCCU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, serves as the principal investigator (PI) on the grant. Other co-PIs include NCCU chemistry professors Fei Yan, Ph.D., and Darlene Taylor, Ph.D. UNC chemistry professors Gerald Meyer, Ph.D., Thomas Freeman, Ph.D., Marcey Waters, Ph.D., and Wei You, Ph.D.
Chemistry students will be recruited to this Bridge Program through activities that include team mentoring, academic support, course sharing, thesis research, community events and professional development. Students will be jointly mentored by faculty and students from both institutions with opportunities to rotate between different research laboratories and classrooms. Professional development includes training in wellness and self-advocacy, as well as guidance for writing job, fellowship and graduate school applications, and structured opportunities to practice and receive feedback on oral presentations and mock interviews.
By establishing the Bridge Program infrastructure, we expect to increase the pool of highly trained minority students with M.S. and Ph.D. Chemistry degrees. This Bridge Program will truly be a seed, ultimately scaling to include more students with expansion to other STEM fields and institutions, resulting in highly trained scientists from underrepresented groups. Enhanced collaborations between the two departments are also an expected outcome. On a broader scale, the success of this program and its students will be the seed to initiate change in the environment of UNC's Ph.D. program by establishing structured mentoring practices to support student success.
Who Should Apply?
Students with a baccalaureate degree in Chemistry from an accredited institution who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemistry and would benefit from personalized training, mentoring and research experiences.
How to Apply?
Students must apply to NCCU’s Chemistry M.S. program to be considered for the Bridge Program. Students will be nominated for the program during their first year.