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Naomi Mburu, a 2018 UMBC chemical engineering graduate and Meyerhoff Scholar who became the university's very first Rhodes Scholar, works in the lab where she did her undergraduate research. Credit: Marlayna Demond for UMBC.
UMBC's Meyerhoff Scholars Program has been lauded as a national model for supporting diverse students in STEM fields. Other institutions across the United States have begun to ask if UMBC's approach could work for them. A new paper published in Science on April 26 answers that question with a resounding "yes."
Inception - UMBC - Meyerhoff - Scholars - Program
Since its inception in 1989, UMBC's Meyerhoff Scholars Program has graduated 739 students with undergraduate degrees in science and engineering, with 76 percent continuing on to graduate or professional programs in STEM. Meyerhoff alumni have earned 300 Ph.D. degrees, 130 M.D. degrees, 54 M.D.-Ph.D. degrees, and 253 master's degrees to date, and hundreds more are currently pursuing graduate degrees.
While these high achieving, research-focused students are more likely than the average student to go on to a graduate degree, research has shown that their UMBC experience has had a major impact on their trajectories. Highly qualified students who were offered admission to the program but opted to attend other universities were half as likely to graduate with a STEM undergraduate degree and about five times less likely to pursue a graduate degree in STEM than those who accepted the offer to join the Meyerhoff Scholars Program.
Program - Culture - Shift - Success - Students
The program has also resulted in a culture shift that supports the success of underrepresented students in STEM who are not Meyerhoff Scholars, and has informed the creation of similar scholars programs at UMBC focused on other fields.
With all these positive results, the major question became: Is the Meyerhoff Scholars Program inherently unique to UMBC, with its charismatic African American president, status as a historically diverse institution that has welcomed students of all...
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