The P-SPINS Bridge Program –
A Pipeline for Minority Students to UNL’s Graduate Program
Axel Enders and Jocelyn Bosley
Central to Nebraska MRSEC’s Diversity Strategic Plan is a new Bridge Program, which builds on strong strategic partnerships with minority-serving undergraduate institutions to create a pipeline for underrepresented students into the UNL’s graduate program in materials science research. Partnering institutions in the Bridge program include North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT), which is a historically black college, as well as the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the California State University at San Bernardino (CSUSB), which both are primarily Hispanic-serving institutions.
Through the Bridge Program, teams of faculty and undergraduate students from the partner institutions are supported to do summer research at UNL. During this time, those teams are involved in P-SPINS research and receive training in the use of UNL’s shared facilities. It is expected that these collaborations continue throughout the following academic year and result in multiple publications.
A second component of the Bridge Program is the organization of educational activities at the partner institutions, involving faculty and students from both P-SPINS and the partner institution. For example, a materials science workshop for undergraduate students, to be held at NCAT during the Fall break of 2015 for the first time and annually thereafter, is currently being organized by Dhananjay Kumar, who is NCAT faculty and a P-SPINS PI, and UNL P-SPINS PI Eva Schubert. Another example is the development of a low-cost scanning tunneling microscope for use in classrooms at CSUSB, through collaboration between Axel Enders and CSUSB faculty Paul Dixon. These activities aim to draw students from partner institutions into P-SPINS activities at multiple levels, ultimately encouraging and enabling them to join UNL’s graduate program.
These programs are supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Materials Research, Materials Research Science and Engineering Program, Grant 1420645.
2015 Bridge Program participants. From left: Fernand Torres (UPR), Daniel Vegerano (CSUSB), and Rina Mudanyi (NCAT).
Highlight InfoDate: Aug. 2015