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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v12.i1.30
pages 35-46

FIRST: A MODEL FOR INCREASING QUALITY MINORITY PARTICIPATION IN THE SCIENCES FROM THE UNDERGRADUATE TO THE PROFESSORIATE LEVEL

C. L. Brommer
Emory University School of Medicine; Atlanta, GA, 30322
Arri Eisen
Department of Biology, Emory University; Atlanta, GA, 30322

ABSTRACT

Programs that have increased the number of minorities and women in science at the K-12 and undergraduate level have not resulted in a corresponding increase in these groups in postdoctoral and faculty positions. Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) address this glaring weakness in segments of the science "pipeline." FIRST is a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship integrating a traditional research experience at a research institution with a mentored teaching experience at a minority-serving institution. Data presented demonstrate that FIRST has many of the characteristics for creating the supportive environment necessary for such programs to succeed. FIRST fellows develop an effective community and have a quality research experience (as measured by publication quantity and quality) and teaching experience (as measured in fellow, student, and mentor surveys), which translate into their receiving faculty positions. Participating research and minority institutions also receive benefits, including increased research and teaching collaboration, expanded curricula, and greater participation of minorities and women at many levels.