Johns Hopkins Gazette: June 9, 1997

Minority Scholars
Gather At Hopkins

Steve Libowitz
A nationwide program created to attract minorities to postgraduate education and to better prepare them for quality participation in academe and private industry will convene at Johns Hopkins University this summer.

The Leadership Alliance, begun in 1992, is committed to finding long-range solutions to increasing the underrepresentation of minorities and improving methods for training minorities for leadership roles in the United States. It is a consortium of 23 colleges and universities, including leading research and teaching universities and historically black colleges and universities.

Through a range of programs, its goal is to create new scholars through the establishment of a professional development pipeline that gives African American, Latino and American Indian students and professors access to advanced course work and laboratories, as well as to the people, information and services found at some of the nation's foremost research universities. By pooling expertise and resources, the alliance extends its institutions' educational productivity beyond that which any of its members could achieve alone.

One such program--the Hopkins-hosted Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Program--was initiated in 1993 as an early identification effort designed to encourage talented minority undergraduates to pursue graduate degrees by developing their interests and skills in research and scholarship.

"Hopkins echoes the alliance's belief that doctoral programs must play an important role in developing our nation's future leaders who will, ultimately, effect change in our educational culture," said Edgar E. Roulhac, vice provost foracademic services at Johns Hopkins. "Our participation in this summer program represents a major commitment on the part of our faculty to increase substantially the applicant pool of undergraduate minority students who consider graduate school a desirable and exciting career option."

The nine-week internship began with an orientation session on Sunday, June 8, on the Homewood campus. During their stay in Baltimore, living in McCoy Hall, the 38 young men and women will work one-on-one with faculty members in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and--for the first time--the School of Hygiene and Public Health. Patricia Palmer, coordinator of Johns Hopkins' summer Leadership Alliance undergraduate research initiative, said the students will pursue advanced independent research and gain practical training in academic research and scientific experimentation.

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

The school has offered fellowships to eight Leadership Alliance students, attracting them from Harvard University, Hunter College, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University and Morgan State University.

Under the direction of Robert Reid-Pharr, an assistant professor in the Hopkins Department of English, these fellows will participate in an interdisciplinary seminar on race and culture, attend presentations by Hopkins faculty in the humanities and social sciences, and complete individual research projects.

Schools of Medicine and Public Health

Leadership Alliance participants--who come from nine states and Puerto Rico--will join other students funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health to take part in the schools' Minority Summer Internship Program. Twenty-one men and women will work, study and undertake research projects in faculty members' laboratories in areas such as cellular and molecular medicine, biomedical engineering, neurology, genetics, toxicology and immunology. Nine others will pursue research projects at the School of Public Health in fields including biostatistics; health policy and management; international, maternal and child health; and population dynamics.

"These internships are similar to graduate student rotations and will give the interns a good sense of a research lab's environment," said James E. K. Hildreth, associate dean for graduate student affairs at the School of Medicine.

Other member institutions in the Leadership Alliance are Brooklyn College, Brown University, Clark Atlanta University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Delaware State University, Harvard University, Howard University, Hunter College, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Prairie View A & M University, Princeton University, Queens College, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Spelman College, Tougaloo College, Xavier University and Yale University.

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