Purdue partners with Ivy Tech to engage undergrads in summer research

June 1, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University summer program that pairs historically underrepresented minority undergraduates with professors to conduct research is expanding to include Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Twenty-seven Purdue and two Ivy Tech students are participating in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Indiana Undergraduate Research Program that offers research opportunities related to forensic sciences, industrial technology, chemical engineering, animal sciences, mathematics, biological sciences and other STEM areas. The program began Monday (May 31) and continues through July 29.

The new collaboration with Ivy Tech is called Leveraging Institutional Networking and Knowledge (LINK). It provides an opportunity for students working on associate degrees in science, engineering, technology and mathematics, also known as STEM fields, to increase their self-confidence and provide the familiarity needed to pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year university.

"The time students spend in these early research experiences means they are better prepared to be successful, are more likely to persist in STEM disciplines and will ultimately pursue careers in STEM fields," said Toyinda L. Wilson-Long, program coordinator of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. "By inviting Ivy Tech students to participate, we are introducing them to opportunities at the university. All of these students gain valuable experience working in a lab and also from the faculty who serve as mentors. We also support their research experiences with related educational workshops and seminars."

The two students from Ivy Tech will focus on research related to mechanical engineering and agricultural and biological engineering.

"This is a great opportunity for Ivy Tech students to learn more about the academic and research opportunities that await them," said Andrew Antonio, executive director of diversity and engagement at Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette. "The program provides our students with a unique set of resources to spend a summer collaborating with outside scientists, which will be an incredible experience and inspiration for their future goals."

In addition to the minimum of 10 hours all students spend in the labs, they also participate in workshops and meetings to learn how to write research literature reviews and abstracts as well as how to apply to graduate school. The Ivy Tech students also will learn about transitioning from a community college to a university. Participating students receive a stipend for the summer program. All students will take part in an outreach program where they serve as mentors to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who visit campus in July. They also will present their research projects in conjunction with the Graduate School's Summer Research Opportunity Program at a July 22 poster session.

The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is funded by the National Science Foundation and is part of Purdue's Office of the Provost and Discovery Learning Research Center. The undergraduate research program is year-round, and 11 Purdue students participated this spring.

Monica Cox, associate professor of engineering education, is the interim statewide director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Indiana Grant Project. The other participating universities are Purdue Calumet, Purdue North Central, Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University Northwest and Indiana State University.
Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: Toyinda L. Wilson-Long, 765-496-6621, lhs@purdue.edu
                 Andrew Antonio, 765-269-5241, aantonio@ivytech.edu

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in information regarding participating students and professors can contact Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu