Two years ago, Patrick Stubbs was determined to go to medical school
after graduating from Alcorn State with his degree in biology. But
two summers spent conducting neuroscience research in the laboratories
of The University of Southern Mississippi have changed the Bassfield
convinced I want to go to grad school and get my Ph.D.," Stubbs
said, "and I want to do it here at Southern Miss."
students to doctoral programs in science, math and engineering is
the goal of the Alliance for Graduate Education in Mississippi's
summer research program. At the state's four doctoral-degree granting
universities, minority students spend a minimum of eight weeks on
campus, where they pair with faculty mentors who work closely with
the students, helping to demystify graduate-school culture.
grad school was something very hard, a place you'd be on your own,"
said Jelani Griffin, a junior chemistry major from Jackson State
who is participating in the program at Southern Miss this summer.
"But I've discovered that there are mentors who guide you through
the research process. They really want to help."
to allowing students to conduct graduate level research under the
guidance of university faculty, the program - sponsored by the National
Science Foundation - offers written and oral communication workshops.
Students also learn valuable information about taking the GRE, and
they undergo leadership and teambuilding training.
work in the lab from 8-5 daily, but they also get other experience
that grooms them for success in graduate school," said AGEM
summer project director André Heath. "At the end of
the session, they present their research to other students."
Miss, 16 minority students hailing mostly from historically black
colleges - Grambling St., Alcorn St., Jackson St. and Mississippi
Valley St. - are entering their last week of a program that started
June 1. Three undergraduate students from Southern Miss are also
meals and lodging, the students get access to the Payne Center,
the library and student parking. Each also gets a $3,000 stipend
for the summer.
is an excellent program for students, and it's great for Southern
Miss because of the increased profile it gives our programs,"
said Dr. Ronnie Evans, assistant director of the School of Human
Performance and Recreation. This summer Evans has served as mentor
to two female students as they have conducted research on congestive
heart failure, osteoporosis and body composition and bone-mineral
the summer program is a perfect way to introduce students to graduate
school. "I wish I would have had someone when I was a junior
or senior who'd allow us to work in the labs all summer long."
attended graduate education and research seminars this summer, with
topics including: "Planning for Success in Graduate School,"
"Staying the Course and Beyond," and "Understanding
the Politics and Protocol of Graduate School."
In its fourth
year, the program has been a success at Southern Miss, Heath said.
"This summer we've got three students who've already said they
want to come to graduate school here, and last year we had one to
pursue a doctoral degree in chemistry," he said.
KeArian Harris, a biology major from Birmingham, Ala., is not sure
yet if she is going to pursue a graduate education or apply for
medical school. She does think the program has opened avenues for
her, however. "I've met some great professors and they've given
me a lot of advice about my career opportunities," Harris said.