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Journal for STEM Education Research

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 128–153 | Cite as

Results from a 14-Year Intervention Program Designed to Impact Pursuit of a PhD in Research among Underrepresented Students in STEM Disciplines

  • Gretchen Schneider BurtonEmail author
  • Eugene Kennedy
  • Maria da Graça H. Vicente
Research Article

Abstract

Minority research and training (MRT) programs have been used across U.S. colleges and universities as a method to close the educational achievement gap and generate a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Previous studies have improved our understanding of the need to diversify the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and the various interventions that have been developed to support these efforts. However, there is still little evidence about what strategies are most effective in promoting interest, continuation, and matriculation into STEM graduate programs among underrepresented groups. The study herein utilized a case study design with a mixed methods approach to evaluate the program impacts and outcomes of an MRT program at a research-intensive institution in the southern part of the U.S., and for program replication. This evaluation study examines the types of activities and services provided, the measurable outcomes of those activities and services, the resources used to deliver the services, the practical problems encountered, and the ways in which problems were resolved.

Keywords

Undergraduate research Mentoring Inclusion STEM 

Introduction

There is a significant educational disparity among racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Particularly, students from Hispanic/Latino, African American, American Indian, and Pacific Islander groups are proportionately underrepresented at all higher education levels, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields (National Science Board 2014). Considering that by 2050, racial and ethnic minority groups are predicted to make up at least half the national population, minority students are needed to strengthen the STEM workforce, the vibrancy of the economy, and healthcare (Museus et al. 2011). Scientific talent generates scientific advancement; however, a lack of diversity represents a loss of talent and impedes scientific and technology progression.

For the past 40 years, federally funded minority research and training (MRT) programs have been used across U.S. colleges and universities as a method to close the educational achievement gap and build undergraduate pathways to generate a highly skilled and diverse workforce that meets the demands of emerging STEM fields (Schultz et al. 2011). The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and other federal agencies provide funding for the development of science support programs serving underrepresented minority (URM) students interested in pursuing careers in the STEM fields. These support programs utilize a broad spectrum of educational activities, training opportunities, and professional experiences designed to increase student persistence and success toward the completion of science-related doctoral degrees. Program components generally include undergraduate research opportunities, mentoring, academic and career advising, and financial support.

The number of science-related degrees has slowly increased over the past decades partially due to the implementation of MRT programs; however, this increase has not been adequate to establish an impactful representation in either academic, government, or industry research careers (Schultz et al. 2011). Furthermore, the disproportionate representation is more pronounced among marginalized women of color in STEM fields. The number of STEM degrees has increased among women of color (African Americans, Chicanas/Latinas, and Native Americans) on a national level, but they have been consistently underrepresented at advanced education and career stages relative to White women and men of any color (NSF 2017). Specifically, Black or African American women represent only 2% of the science and engineering workforce (NSF 2017). In order to promote inclusion and diversify the STEM workforce, it is particularly important to understand the factors or interventions that hinder and support the academic and career development of women of color (Gibbs Jr et al. 2014).

Previous studies have improved our understanding of the need to diversify the biomedical research disciplines and the various interventions that have been developed to support these efforts (National Research Council 2005). However, there is still little evidence about what strategies are most effective in promoting interest, continuation, and matriculation into research graduate programs among underrepresented minority groups, particularly women. This theory-oriented evaluation study adds to the current body of knowledge by examining the activities, student experiences, outcomes and impacts of a MRT program over a 14-years period encompassing three funded phases, and the resources used to deliver the services, the problems encountered, and the ways these problems were resolved. With this information, institutions and education programs may provide improved training activities and resources needed to better serve URM students with science majors and enrich minority representation in academic, government or industry research careers and leadership positions. The central research questions for this study included: What were the outcomes of interventions put into place by the MRT program to increase the number of students that graduated with a BS or BA degree with the motivation and competitive credentials to continue into research graduate programs? Which interventions were the most impactful — and how and why?

A 14-Year Intervention Program

Understanding the institutional and state setting in which students attended is important, as it impacts aspects of the objective environment as well as how students perceive and respond to surrounding environmental factors. The MRT program is located in a state with significant disparities between the educational achievements of economically disadvantaged and minority students and their peers from more affluent middle-class families. The state’s estimated total college completion rate is 56%, below the national average of 63% (Shapiro et al. 2015). Educational attainment rates for African American, Hispanic, and American Indian students continue to lag significantly behind those of Whites and Asian Americans. The state ranks the lowest in the U.S. for educational attainment after high school among African Americans. Compared to the national average of 29.3%, only 20.5% of African American adults between the ages of 25 to 64 earn at least an associate degree (Lumina Foundation 2017).

Located in the southern region of the U.S., the research site is a doctoral degree-granting institution with extensive research activity and is recognized as the state’s flagship institution. With a student population of about 30,000, 82% of the enrolled students are considered in-state students. Despite a state population of 32% African American and a city population of 50% African American (U.S. Census Bureau 2015), the institution’s 2016 student enrollment was 70% White, 12% African American, and 6% Hispanic/Latino/a. Thus, the institution constitutes a predominant white institution (PWI).

The MRT program examined in this study is funded by a federal agency through a competitive grant in which an academic institution may seek funds for program development designed to increase the number of doctoral level minority researchers in biomedical related disciplines, specifically PhD or MD/PhD. Established in 2004, the program’s mission is to provide a diverse group of undergraduate students in the biomedical or behavioral sciences research training, academic and personal development, and career opportunities while enhancing diversity in the sciences. The program supports 20 underrepresented minority (URM) students per year. During the 9-months academic year, participants conduct research under a faculty mentor for 15 h per week, receive wages and travel funds to attend and present research findings at a scientific meeting per year, attend bimonthly educational activities and seminars, and receive regular academic, career, and personal counseling. Undergraduate student eligibility for admittance into the MRT program includes: U.S. citizens or lawfully admitted for permanent residence; major in the natural, physical or behavioral sciences relevant to biomedical research; plans to enter a doctoral program in the biomedical sciences directly upon graduation; competitive GPA; sophomore or junior status; identify as an individual from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (defined as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders); individuals with disabilities (defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities); and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Participants Served and Recruitment

Table 1 presents a summary of the demographic characteristics of participants in the program during its 14 years of operation (2004–2018). The majority (75%) of student participants identify as Black or African American. The total number of participants slightly increased over the three funded phases of the MRT program, with African American females being the predominant participants during all the phases. Program participants were first recruited from other on-campus STEM enrichment programs aimed at freshman and sophomore students. However, due to the conclusion of these collaborative programs, where students were recruited from, the MRT program then implemented a campus-wide recruitment campaign. Although all eligible students were invited to apply, majority of applicants were African American females.
Table 1

MRT program undergraduate participants

  

Phase I (2004–2008)

Phase II (2009–2013)

Phase III (2014–2018)

Total N

30

36

38

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Race/Ethnicity

Black/African American

4

16

9

20

7

22

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

1

3

1

5

Asian

2

3

1

1

0

2

White

0

5

1

0

0

1

Total Gender

Males

6

12

8

Females

24

24

30

Admission GPA

 

3.45

3.17

3.20

Program Model

Lent’s (1994) social cognitive career theory serves as the theoretical foundation of the program’s model for program design and implementation. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) explores factors that influence the decision-making processes through which students develop their basic academic and career interests, construct their educational and vocational plans, and achieve outcome expectations throughout their academic and career training. SCCT, based on Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory and Hackett and Betz’s (1981) career self-efficacy model, suggests that the three personal tenets of self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and interests, interact with external factors to shape a person’s career goals and actions. SCCT explores how career and academic interests mature, career choices are developed, and how these choices are turned into action. According to SCCT, career interests are shaped by self-efficacy, a measure of how successful a person believes he or she will be at completing a task or meeting a goal, and outcome expectations, defined as beliefs related to the consequences of performing a specific behavior (Lent et al. 2000). To persist in the STEM disciplines, students must believe that they are capable of successfully completing the required training and implementing the learned skills once in the field.

According to SCCT, career development is also influenced by objective and perceived environmental factors. Objective factors may include the quality of educational experiences and available financial support. According to Lent et al. (2000), objective factors can influence one’s career development, whether or not the individual specifically apprehends their influence. Other contextual factors impacting a student’s career decision may include perceptions of social supports, mentors and role models, science educational programs, family expectations, and barriers, including racism, exclusion, and gender role stereotyping.

Phase I (2004–2008)

The MRT program expands over three funding periods starting in 2004. The initial phase was a 4-years award (2004–2008) that established the foundation of the current program. The overall goals of the program during phase I were to provide a group of URM students in the biomedical disciplines research training and academic, personal, and career development during their junior and senior years, as well as to increase student retention, graduation rate, and competitiveness for graduate programs. Many initial student participants transitioned from a collaborative program that recruited high-achieving high school students as incoming freshmen and provided comprehensive support, including a high-school-to-college bridging program, academic enrichment, peer mentoring, and financial scholarships.

The MRT program was designed to provide these transitioning students with an advanced research experience during their final 2 years of undergraduate studies. Using SCCT as an underlying theoretical foundation, participants conducted research during the academic year under a faculty mentor for 15 h per week, received wages and travel funds to attend and present research findings at a national scientific meeting in their research area once a year, and attended monthly research seminars. Monthly research seminars included three invited guest lecturers from outside institutions and six faculty members from various departments at the home institution. Seminars provided students with exposure to a wide range of ongoing research projects at the institution and elsewhere and networking opportunities with other individuals with similar research interest and potential graduate school programs.

Program participants also received one-on-one sessions with the program counselor to review student academic progress and discuss academic, career and personal challenges or accomplishments. Although each student was required to meet with the counselor at least twice per semester, students were encouraged to make additional appointments throughout the academic year. The counselor provided guidance and, if necessary, referred students to other institutional resources when academic, attitudinal, attendance, or other personal problems require intervention by other professionals (e.g. mental health center, disability services, etc.).

As illustrated in the program logic model (see Fig. 1), program inputs and resources during this phase included the program director (PD) and two co-PDs, the program coordinator and counselor, and the faculty mentors. In addition to participation in program activities, students were encouraged to present research findings each year at a regional or national conference, and co-author a peer-review conference proceedings and/or a scientific publication. Short-term objectives included increased academic and personal support systems, improved learning and research skills development, increased scientific communications and networks, increased competitiveness and support for graduate program applications, and exposure and increased interest in biomedical research careers. Measurable long-term outcomes tracked by program staff included application and enrollment into biomedical graduate programs, completion of doctoral degrees, and employment in research careers with an ultimate desired impact of increasing the number of underrepresented groups in biomedical research careers.
Fig. 1

Program logic model (Phases I, II, III)

Phase II (2009–2013)

The same overall logic model of the program continued into phase II. However, the program implemented additional student and mentor activities throughout the academic year in order to establish a stronger sense of community and science-identity among participants, and increase the long-term measurable outcomes (Fig. 1). Additional program activities in phase II included increased frequency of program activities, including seminars/workshops from one to two per month, at least one external campus site visit per year, expanded research opportunities with local research-intensive facilities, faculty mentor training every fall semester, annual group conference travel, and expanded career exploration opportunities. The increased frequency of seminars/workshops allowed enhanced interactions among scholars and training activities, including additional training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR), scientific communication, graduate school applications, and career interest assessments and planning. Program participants also toured at least one external campus per year as a group in order to gain familiarity of a university’s facilities, campus culture, research projects, and graduate programs. Furthermore, the scholars provided suggestions and ideas for prospective training activities and site visits, therefore a more personalized program based on the needs of the students was performed.

Also in phase II, the program expanded its program staff to include an external evaluator to assist in the collection and analysis of program outcomes, and to assist with efforts to monitor program effectiveness and efficiency. During this phase, interviews with program staff, student participants, faculty mentors, and administrators, were part of the program assessment. Furthermore, due to budgetary restriction by the funding agency, the full-time coordinator and counselor from phase I was reduced to part-time employment status for the second funding phase.

Phase III (2014–2018)

During the third funding phase, based on a multi-component program assessment and evaluation, the MRT program continued to modify program resources, inputs, and activities in order to maximize program outputs. During phase II (above), the collaborative programs, where students were recruited from, concluded due to lack of funding. Thus, the majority of students in phases II and III did not participate in a previous support program, as did those in phase I. Thus, during this phase, majority of the students did not participate in an early intervention program during their freshman and sophomore years. To address this, the MRT program made changes in the services provided. The MRT program expanded academic and personal development efforts by increasing the counselor to full-time employment status and implemented individual development plans (IDPs) for undergraduate participants. In addition to regular academic advising, each participant would meet with the program counselor at least twice semester for individual development planning. During IDP sessions, the participant and counselor develop, update and modify individual action plans targeting academic, career and personal goals. Students with academic difficulties were encouraged to also meet mid-semester.

Time management was a re-occurring challenge for some students, and efforts were made not to infringe on the time students needed to dedicate to their academic study, and on selected interventions. For example, program meetings and seminars were held bimonthly and not during midterm or final examination periods. Each semester, students participated in a survey poll in order to select meeting times and dates that were most convenient for students. Site visits and community activities often occurred between academic semesters so class attendance and academic performance were not disrupted. Furthermore, the counselor taught time management strategies and tools during advising sessions, such as prioritizing tasks, establishing routines, and utilizing weekly schedulers.

During phase II, participants requested additional social events in order to facilitate interactions between scholars. Due to participant requests and research findings by Ong et al. (2011), the program implemented additional networking and mentoring activities. According to Ong (2005), the intersection of race and gender present women of color with additional challenges during their experiences in STEM, including isolation and exclusion from white students and faculty, and impact their sense of belonging. Since the majority of the participants were African American women, the program implemented additional strategies to alleviate feelings of isolation and exclusion. The program recruited two URM graduate scholars per year to enhance the research training and close peer mentoring relationships between undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate scholars recruited were at least second year or higher in a STEM PhD graduate program. In total, six graduate students participated in the program; of which, four identified as Black/African American, one Hispanic, and one adult with a physical disability. Following a hierarchical-mentoring model (Wilson et al. 2012), undergraduate participants were assigned to one of the graduate students. During coordinated mentoring sessions, undergraduate participants discussed research projects and future life experiences and goals. Interactions also included laboratory visits and individual and group mentoring sessions.

The program continued bimonthly seminar and training activities and networking opportunities with group travel to conferences and external group site visits. Group travel to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) with a minimum of ten students occurred every fall semester during phase III of the program. Program participants also engaged in various STEM-based outreach activities, including science demonstrations, once a semester at local public events and K-12 classrooms. These experiences aimed to teach the value of community education and create opportunities to increase students’ motivation in STEM (Vennix et al. 2018).

Furthermore, partnerships and collaborations with other institutional support centers, and graduate programs at nearby institutions, were expanded to improve academic success, facilitate transitioning, and increase matriculation into graduate programs. The students were also encouraged to apply for summer research opportunities at institutions they were interested in pursuing for their graduate studies; those that were not accepted or opted for summer school instead, were encouraged to remain engaged in research at their home institution during the summer. The students also presented their research at local undergraduate research symposia, in addition to participation at a national conference requiring travel.

Research Design

In post-modern constructivism, knowledge does not exist in a state pending discovery but rather is constructed by people through interactions with the world (Gordon 2009). Therefore, learners construct their personal knowledge as a result of reflecting on their experiences. However, Mertens (2007) felt the constructivist stance did not adequately advocate an action plan for helping marginalized individuals. She believed researchers must explore societal values and privileges in order to know the realities that promote social transformation and mitigate disparities. The transformative paradigm, also referred to as the advocacy and participatory worldview, serves as a viable framework for evaluation research and the development of responsive programming for marginalized individuals (Mertens 2007).

The study herein utilized a case study design to understand the program impacts and outcomes from an MRT program and for program replication. According to Stake (1995), case studies are effective for describing and expanding the understanding of a phenomenon, and are often utilized in studying people and programs in education. The evaluation study examined the types of activities and services provided with the MRT program, the measurable outcomes of those activities and services, the resources used to deliver the services, the challenges encountered, and the ways in which those challenges were resolved.

The transformative paradigm emphasizes the importance of developing a research design that addresses the diverse needs of a community and is conducive to social change (Mertens 2012). With a mixed methodology design, researchers can understand the experiences in culturally complex communities, establish trusting relationships between researchers and participants, and reinforce qualitative findings with quantitative data (Mertens 2012). In a mixed methods approach, studies gather both numerical data as well as textual information so the final database represents both quantitative research methods and qualitative information (Creswell 2014). The mixed methodology will: (1) capture the outcomes of the intervention program designed to impact the pursuit of a doctoral degree in biomedical research among underrepresented students in biomedical disciplines, and (2) study the processes as a means of understanding why and how outcome results were obtained.

A mixed methods approach involves triangulation, the process of data validation through cross verification from more than one method of gathering data. Triangulation strengthens a study by using a variety of data sources, including multiple researchers and perspectives to interpret data (Patton 2002). This study utilized a concurrent triangulation design, which involves collecting separate data sources in a single phase, separately analyzing both sets of data, and bringing the separate results together into one overall interpretation (Creswell et al. 2003). The integration of quantitative and qualitative data does not simply look at agreement or disagreement between the data sets but presents the data in a more comprehensive framework. Quantitative methods were used to measure the outcomes of the intervention performance metrics (grade point average, number of research publications and/or conference presentations, BS/BA graduation rates, and matriculation rates into graduate programs). The qualitative methods included semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and observations. This mixed method approach examined the measurable outcomes achieved by interventions put in place by the MRT program and which interventions were the most impactful, and why and how, through participant perspectives.

Quantitative Methods

Performance metrics, including BS/BA graduation rates, grade point averages (GPA), number of co-authored scientific publications and conference poster/oral presentations, and matriculation into graduate programs, were collected and reported in order to examine measurable outcomes between the program’s three phases. The quantitative indicators provide numerical data for measuring academic progress and achievement, participation in research-related activities, and how well participants are persisting through the semesters toward degree completion.

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative research provides the flexibility needed for participants to retell their experiences in a meaningful form through narratives rather than numbers, capturing human perceptions (Denzin and Lincoln 2008). Furthermore, qualitative research establishes a trusting dialog between researchers and participants (Mertens 2012). For this study, qualitative data collection methods included individual interviews and focus groups with present and past students. At the end of each spring semester all students were required to attend an end-of-year assessment meeting with the program evaluator. During these meetings, students were asked to complete a survey developed by the evaluator, which included open-ended items related to their experiences and perceptions of the project. At the end of these sessions focus group discussions were conducted. Participation in these sessions was typically high, approximately 80% for each year for phases II and III. While these data were collected, anonymity was maintained for the students. The evaluator obtained informed consent and also took notes in order to document student impressions.

In addition, individual interviews were conducted with students who volunteered to participate. Individual interviews with student participants explored participant attitudes toward their experiences in the MRT program, including undergraduate research, participation in program activities, mentoring, outreach, and other program elements, and how program participation influenced their matriculation into graduate programs. These 20 to 30 min sessions were not recorded and typically ranged from 2 to 3 participants per year. These data were used to identify areas for further investigation.

This study used constant comparative analysis in which narratives from the open-ended research questions were transcribed, hand-coded and categorized for purposes of identifying themes (Strauss and Corbin 1990). During the coding cycle, pattern coding was utilized to connect material across participants into more meaningful units of analysis (Miles and Huberman 1994). The descriptive codes from each interview were divided into categories according to word and phrase repetitions, and organized by hand. After close examination, several similar themes and events were identified. The inductive approach sought to generate an understanding of participant perceptions, not prove a preconceived theory.

This study received prior institution review board (IRB) review and approval. It is also noted that the authors conducted all analysis for this study. One served as the program evaluator and the other two served as program administrators and staff. The authors engaged with participants extensively, particularly since 2009, when phase II and emphasis on program evaluation started. To ensure the trustworthiness of the analysis, the researchers engaged in frequent debriefing sessions for collaborative review and analysis of the qualitative data. The meetings allowed the researchers to test their developing ideas and interpretations with others’ help in recognizing personal biases and preferences. Additionally, member checking was utilized in which the data and interpretations were presented back to the participants so that they could confirm the credibility of the information and narrative account (Gall et al. 2007). Thus, to ensure findings represent the experience of the participants, the researchers conducted follow-up discussions with participants involving the verification of emerging theories and inferences formed during the interviews. The results presented below represent themes commonly identified by the researchers and supported by other data sources.

Research Findings

The triangulation of quantitative and qualitative data was used throughout this study. Performance metrics provided numerical outcomes, which were reported to the funding agency on an annual basis. Qualitative methods, including individual interviews and focus groups with program participants and observations, provided narratives and perceptions of participant’s experiences and insights into why and how program outcomes were obtained, and how these could be addressed.

Performance Metrics

Impact on Academic Performance

The data presented in Table 2 indicates that the program was successful in providing participants with the support needed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree with a competitive GPA, particularly in phase I, when 24 of the students graduated with at least 3.2 GPA, the majority within 4 years. It is important to note that majority of the participants during this phase did participate in a support program that recruited high-achieving high school students and provided comprehensive academic and peer support during their freshman and sophomore years, which may have contributed to their academic success.
Table 2

Performance metrics of undergraduate participants

 

Phase I (2004–2008)

Phase II (2009–2013)

Phase III (2014–2018)

Total

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

 

Received BA/BS degree

Black/African American

4

16

9

20

3

16

68

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

1

3

1

2

7

Asian

2

3

1

1

0

0

7

White

0

5

1

0

0

1

7

American Indian

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

30

36

24 (14 still in training)

90

Graduated with at least 3.2 GPA

Black/African American

4

12

3

8

3

8

38

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

1

2

0

1

4

Asian

2

2

1

1

0

0

6

White

0

4

1

0

0

1

6

American Indian

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

24 (80%)

17 (47%)

14 (58%)

55 (59%)

Graduated within 4 years

Black/African American

4

8

4

7

3

10

36

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

1

1

1

3

Asian

2

2

0

1

0

0

5

White

0

3

0

0

0

1

4

Total

19 (63%)

13 (36%)

16 (67%)

48 (53%)

Graduated within 5 years

Black/African American

5

15

7

18

3

15

63

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

3

1

2

6

Asian

2

1

1

1

0

0

5

White

0

4

1

0

0

1

6

American Indian

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

27 (90%)

31 (86%)

23 (96%)

81 (90%)

Enrolled in PhD or MD/PhD program

Black/African American

2

2

1

5

6

7

23

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

Asian

0

1

1

0

0

1

3

White

0

1

1

0

0

1

3

Total

6 (20%)

8 (22%)

17 (71%)

31 (34%)

Enrolled in MD program

Black/African American

1

8

1

3

1

2

16

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Asian

2

0

0

1

0

0

3

White

0

2

0

0

0

0

2

Total

13 (43%)

6 (17%)

3 (13%)

22 (24%)

Enrolled in MS program

Black/African American

0

2

2

5

1

2

12

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

Asian

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

White

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

American Indian

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

3 (10%)

7 (19%)

5 (21%)

15 (17%)

Co-authored a research paper

Black/African American

1

6

0

3

5

1

16

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Asian

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

White

0

1

0

0

1

0

2

Total

8 (27%)

4 (11%)

7 (29%)

19 (21%)

Presented at a research conference

Black/African American

3

15

5

14

3

16

56

Hispanic/Latino/a

0

0

0

1

1

3

5

Asian

2

3

1

0

0

0

6

White

0

2

1

0

0

1

4

Total

25 (83%)

22 (61%)

24 (100%)

71 (79%)

However, unlike in phase I in which students transitioned from a previous training program, the MRT program experienced a decrease in overall GPAs during phase II (Table 1). As the population of students evolved over the different phases of the project, the services provided also changed to better serve the student population. To address the decline in academic performance, the program expanded academic development efforts by providing a full-time counselor, individualized intervention plans, intensified monitoring by project staff, as well as connecting students with additional support services. As a result, the number of students graduating with a 3.2 GPA increased from 47% in phase II to 58% in phase III.

Impact on Research Productivity

Phase I students were more productive in research, with 8 co-authoring a scientific article and 25 presenting a poster or oral presentation at a local or national research meeting in comparison to phase II. In order to address the decline in research productivity, the MRT program implemented additional training interventions, such as expanded research experiences with local research intensive-facilities, group conference travel, and activities focusing on scientific communication (e.g. abstract writing, scientific reports, and research presentations). As a result, the number of publications increased from 11% in phase II to 29% in phase III. In addition, 100% of participants presented at a national or regional conference during phase III, an increase of 39% from phase II.

Impact on Post Graduation

The overall goal of the program was to increase the number of students that matriculated into PhD or MD/PhD programs and continued in research careers. During phase I of the project, the number of participants that enrolled in MD degrees upon graduation was high, although this number decreased by less than half in phase II and less than a quarter in phase III. This was determined to be, in part, a function of the strong academic profile of scholars in phase I and their commitment to the MD degree. The overall goal of the MRT program, established by the funding agency, is to increase the number of doctoral level minority researchers with PhD or MD/PhD degrees.

Changes in the recruitment and selection process during phases II and III narrowed recruitment efforts for non-pre-medical students. Through the use of individual interviews and personal statement essays, program staff would identify students expressing potential interest in a biomedical research career path. The program also expanded career exploration activities in order to inform students of career opportunities beyond the medical degree. Career development activities included site visits and research opportunities at various local biomedical-related facilities, attendance at career fairs and graduate school expos. As a result of recruitment changes and expansion of career exploration that promoted interest in research careers, the program decreased the number of students pursuing MD careers by 30% in phase III compared with phase I, while dramatically increased the number of students pursuing PhD and MD/PhD degrees. As indicated in Table 2, the number of students entering PhD programs in phase III more than doubled in comparison to the previous two phases.

Student Perceptions of Program Components

Student Interviews

In order to examine which program components were effective and which areas needed improvement, the evaluator conducted individual interviews with student participants during phases II and III. These interviews allowed the evaluator to probe student beliefs and experiences to gain an understanding of which program interventions were most beneficial. As indicated in Fig. 1, student participants indicated the bimonthly meetings and workshops, conference participation, and undergraduate research as key program components in the MRT program.

Bi-Monthly Meetings

Students rated the bimonthly workshops in positive terms. They noted that they offered valuable information about career options, facilitated networking with professionals and role models, and motivated them to continue their education and a research career. For example, students stated, “The guest lectures were very beneficial. I learned so much about career opportunities” and “The monthly meetings are enjoyable and educates us on up and coming research.” In addition to invited speakers from various academic institutions, participants expressed value of invited speakers that were program alumni. For instance, one student stated, “Some presenters are even past scholars which is great for networking and talking about their experiences after leaving...” By inviting past program participants as guest speakers, students were able to see the growth of individuals and realize their personal potential as a biomedical researcher.

Conferences and Presentations

Participants noted that attendance and participation in conferences provided them with opportunities to network and increased their motivation. Responses from those who presented at conferences indicated the experiences were valuable and increased their interest in research careers, and facilitated networking. In fact, many students felt this component was the most beneficial aspect of the MRT program. One student shared, An aspect of the program I find highly beneficial is the opportunity to present research at virtually any place at any time. It is really beneficial to be able to travel and connect with fellow researchers and learn new things.” Students also shared how meeting graduate school recruiters at conferences made the application process easier and generated excitement in experiencing college on a different campus. For example, a student stated, “I never considered leaving here but when I met other schools and the people that attend, I felt excitement about going away for graduate school. It felt like an opportunity to start the next chapter of my life”.

Research Laboratory Experiences

Many students reported undergraduate research provided them with knowledge, support, and confidence needed to succeed in the classroom. One student expressed, “Research encouraged me to think more seriously about grad school and improve my studying... I think research doubled my knowledge in science”. Another student shared, “I thought with the large classrooms I would feel like a small fish but because of my research I always felt confident and sure of myself.” A student responded with, “My scientific knowledge on the undergraduate level was very high compared to my counterparts because I would go into a class and understand what the teacher was talking about because I could see in real life.” Participants shared a heightened sense of self-efficacy and confidence from their research experiences in which they were able to apply classroom knowledge to real world experiments and vice versa.

Interaction with Peers

In order to identify program components that needed improvement, student participants were asked for suggestions on what and how the program could be improved to better meet their academic and career needs. Many student responses included additional social events, such as group discussions, study sessions, group travel, and volunteering opportunities that facilitate interactions between program scholars. For instance, a student shared, “I would like to see more one-on-one, more social events with other [program name omitted] peers, program group chat.” Another student expressed, “Group discussions about research, more involvement with other members would be nice…we want to support each other.” Students indicated the value of peer-led social support strategies in order to strengthen academic success and professional development.

Participant Experiences

Focus Group Interviews

In order to capture participant perspectives and experiences with the MRT program, small focus groups were also conducted each year during phases II and III. Focus group participants were asked questions in an interactive setting and were encouraged to discuss thoughts freely with other participants. Through peer interaction, students generated knowledge as a group and provided insight on program involvement, research experiences, scientific interests, and confidence in their ability to pursue a career in research, influential mentors, and future aspirations. The open and free discussions provided an opportunity to explore more in-depth participants’ attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and reactions in a way that may be impossible to record on a scale. A cross-case analysis suggested six themes that were consistent among focus groups in this study. These themes were: increased awareness of opportunities, increased desire for research and graduate studies, enhanced confidence as a scientist, appreciation of mentoring, networking, and URM peer support.

Awareness of Opportunities

Many of the student participants entered the program with limited exposure and knowledge in biomedical-related careers outside of medical clinicians. During group interviews, students often explained how participation in research, seminars and conference travel heightened awareness of career opportunities, particularly research-related careers that they were previously unaware of or had not considered prior to program involvement. One student shared, “Before joining the program, I never had thoughts about furthering my education to get a PhD. I believe that the main reason I did not was because of my lack of knowledge about graduate programs and the opportunities out there.” Another student stated, “[the program] helped impact my career goals by showing me different opportunities that are available, many of which I had not considered before” and “it introduced new research procedures and topics from a great mentor that I can utilize in later job opportunities and facilities. It opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that research provides.”

Increased Desire for Research and Graduate School

During focus groups, students suggested lasting changes in their perceptions of the value of research. Students indicated their undergraduate research experience not only heightened awareness of career opportunities but also generated interest in a science career and developed a new expectation of obtaining a PhD degree. For instance, a student stated, “I never would have considered a future in the field of research. Now that I have firsthand experience, I am strongly considering going to graduate school and possibly pursuing a PhD in pharmacology.” For some students, this increased interest in research evolved into more of a passion. For example, a student shared, “It transformed my curiosity about research into never-ending love and appreciation for the field and solidified my desire to pursue a career in the field.” Another student responded with, “My passion is doing research in the product development field. This program influences me to accept challenges and move forward in receiving my PhD.”

Confidence as a Scientist

During the focus groups, students often shared gain in confidence, particularly their ability to conduct and contribute to research-related projects.

A student stated, “Doing research teaches you how to follow protocols better than a lab class. You learn the small struggles and an opportunity to do it again correctly.” Another student followed with, “Doing research changes the way you approach things and absorb information. It makes you want more valid information. Made me think more in depth.” A third student quickly responded with, “You kind of get to learn how to be a scientist in undergrad.”

In addition to research experiences in the laboratory, students believed participation in conferences enhanced their communication skills and readiness for graduate school. For example, a student stated, “It (the MRT program) helped my confidence in my speaking skills because of conferences… it boosted my confidence in public speaking and speaking to individuals for vocational purposes”. Many believed their participation in undergraduate research and presenting at conferences enhanced their sense of self-efficacy in science knowledge and professional skills, such as communication and research techniques, and favorably positioned them toward graduate school by feeling more prepared and confident in pursuing a graduate degree.

Appreciation of Mentoring

Participants discussed the positive influence of mentoring relationships with faculty and program staff on their personal and professional development. For instance, a participant stated, “Program administrators were always there when I needed them. They were there when I needed someone to talk to about school. They always gave good and encouraging advice that made life easier.” Another student shared, “Knowing that I have [counselor’s name] support and that she has full confidence in me to reach my goals means everything to me.” Mentors served as a valuable resource for academic guidance, personal support, and motivation. In addition to academic and personal support, participants shared the value of mentoring in science identity development. For instance, a participant stated, “They (faculty mentors) like push you forward and give you personalized advice and incentives and they’re kind of pushing you along to realize that dream of becoming a scientist.” Another student expressed, “I’ve had the opportunity to learn under a great mentor and grow as a student and as a prospective researcher.” Through mentoring relationships, students were able to see themselves as successful biomedical researchers.

Students also expressed the value of informal mentoring relationships they developed with the graduate scholars. For example, one student shared, “They (the graduate students) really took an interest in seeing students learn and improve… They were there not just for science but for friendship too”. The graduate students served as support systems promoting social, academic, and personal development for the undergraduates. Another student shared, “..in these programs, you get to see graduate students of color knowing they have the same struggles...They encouraged me.” Students described the mentoring relationships with the URM graduate students as caring and supportive, particularly on a PWI campus in which students experience racial isolation.

Networking

Student participants expressed the value of collegial relationships they gained with peers and faculty during their participation in the MRT program. The program facilitated student-faculty and peer interactions they may not have occurred prior to program participation. For example, a student shared, Participation has indirectly impacted my success at [institution name omitted], allowing me to network with others… it has given me an opportunity to meet and talk with other professors who I would not have previously met”. Other students stated, “I have been exposed to people I would not normally meet, and get to listen to and learn about their research” and “It gave me opportunities to interact with others in my research field”.

URM Peer Support

In addition to expanding networking opportunities, the students shared how the program provided opportunities to collaborate with other URM individuals. Students identified peer interactions as an impactful program component during individual interviews, as shown in Table 3. However, URM peer support emerged as a highly impactful component during majority of focus groups. Focus groups allow knowledge to be generated through social interactions and provide insight to information that may not have emerged without group dialog (Markovà et al. 2007; Farnsworth and Boon 2010). For example, a student stated, “This program allows people of color to establish a network that can be so very useful as we advance throughout your career… serves as motivation because by seeing people who look like you and are similar to you succeed makes it easier for one to believe that they too can achieve success.” Another student then expressed, “I’ve met various people of diverse backgrounds...It was always good to have a second family at school while you were away from home.” Students shared feelings of belonging and motivation when able to network with other URM students as a source of support for each other.
Table 3

Effectiveness of program components – student perceptions

 

Phase II

(2010–13)

Phase III

(2014–18)

Counseling and Support by Project Staff

5/35

(14%)

18/72

(25%)

Research Laboratory Experiences

14/35

(40%)

25/72

(35%)

Bimonthly Meetings and Seminars

23/35

(65%)

37/72

(51%)

Conferences and Presentations

11/35

(31%)

19/72

(26%)

Financial Support

6/35

(17%)

5/72

(7%)

Interactions with Peers

2/35

(6%)

9/72

(13%)

aData presented in this table represent responses to the following open-ended question: “What aspects of the program did you find most effective?” These data were collected at the end of the fall and/or spring semesters

b“n” values represent total number of responses to the item for each phase of the project

Discussion

This study adds to the current body of knowledge examining the activities, student experiences, outcomes, and impacts of an MRT program at a research-intensive institution. It focuses on a specific program over a 14-years period encompassing three phases, the resources used to deliver the services, the challenges encountered, and the ways these challenges were resolved. The study examines measurable outcomes from performance metrics, such as matriculation into PhD programs and research productivity, and perspectives from student participants. Participants expressed their perceptions and experiences with the MRT program through individual and focus group interviews. The conversation style interviews explored program experiences, strengths and weaknesses of program components, the core of student scientific interest and confidence in their ability to pursue a career in science, and future aspirations. Based on the examination of performance metrics and shared experiences and perceptions from program participants, this study found insights on which program components were critical in influencing continuation into research graduate programs, and how and why they influenced matriculation into PhD or MD/PhD programs.

SCCT, the theoretical foundation of the program’s model for program design and implementation, explores how career and academic interests mature, career choices are developed, and how these choices are turned into action. Career interests are shaped by a student’s sense of self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and environmental factors, including support and/or barriers (Lent et al. 2000). This study suggests a strong connection between self-efficacy expectations relative to career decision-making and student background, particularly with regard to URM students. It is important to note that the relationship between self-efficacy and career development varies depending on the population because different minority groups face unique barriers and challenges (MacPhee et al. 2013). For instance, women encounter educational and workplace discrimination, including negative societal stereotypes and influences. Furthermore, African American women face a double stereotype of race and gender that creates even larger barriers when considering STEM careers (Malcom and Malcom 2011; Charleston et al. 2014; Shapiro and Williams 2012). Conceptualized as the ‘double bind’ (Ong et al. 2011), minority women in STEM are subject to the complex interplay of sexism and racism. Since the majority of the participants in this study were African American females, it was important for programs to understand the intersection of race and gender and its impact on their STEM career development.

First, program participants, particularly those with slightly lower GPAs, were more receptive to alternatives to the medical doctorate degree. This supports SCCT predictions in which career decisions are heavily influenced by an individual’s expectations and sense of self-efficacy for success in specific careers. As noted in Table 2, phase I had the highest overall GPA for student participants and the highest rates of matriculation into medical school programs. Across the different phases, most participants in the program started their undergraduate training with the intent of entering medical school. Many were not aware of alternatives, as shared during student interviews. This may have been a function of lack of effective career counseling at the high school level, the absence of role models and mentors in their home and community, as the majority were first-generation students, and limited exposure to STEM research. Studies show African American females are less likely to be exposed to science, technology and computers outside of the classroom from an early age (Margolis et al. 2011); thus, impacting their success in math and science areas at all levels of their academic careers and leaving them underprepared to achieve success in STEM fields at the undergraduate level (Buzzetto-More et al. 2010; Johnson et al. 2011).

Career counselors and career centers should be aware of the close association between minority students’ academic development, career development, and the amount of interpersonal support provided (Falconer and Hays 2006). The MRT program in this study provided URM students with career exploration opportunities through career counseling from program staff, participation in undergraduate research and scientific meetings, guest lecturers, and site visits to various research entities. As shown in later phases, these activities generated awareness of career opportunities and willingness to pursue a PhD degree. This was true even for those students graduating with GPAs that would have made them competitive for medical school. Gushue et al. (2006) found similar results in which African American students with greater vocational self-concept and engagement with career exploration activities and advising achieved higher levels of career decision-making. MRT activities, such as undergraduate research, allows URM students to try out the role of a research scientist as a potential career (Ovink and Veazey 2011).

During interviews and focus groups, participants in this study shared how research experiences provided the opportunity for them to apply classroom knowledge to laboratory experiments. They also believed research enhanced their technical skills, personal development and relationships, and sense of preparedness for graduate school. For example, participants stated, “..research doubled my knowledge in science,” “..teaches you how to follow protocols better than a lab class,” “…because of my research I always felt confident and sure of myself,” and “You kind of get to learn how to be a scientist in undergrad.” Students expressed the positive effects of undergraduate research on their attitude, perceptions, and levels of competence in the scientific disciplines. Participating in undergraduate research and research-related activities instills a sense of self-efficacy in the students’ ability for conducting research and pursuing research-related careers, especially among students who may not have high-level GPAs often earned by their medical school bound counterparts. According to SCCT, self-efficacy influences an individuals’ personal agency for self-directed learning, motivation, and goal setting in guiding personal behavior (Lent et al. 2000). Subsequently, enhanced students’ sense of self-efficacy for science careers increases the probability that students will persist in a science major, reach degree completion, and continue into PhD programs.

Our findings were also consistent with previous studies supporting research experiences as an effective strategy in increasing a student’s sense of self-efficacy for science careers. Studies indicate students who participate in an undergraduate research program experience significantly greater overall satisfaction with their undergraduate education and were more likely to attend and complete graduate school than students with no research experience (Bauer and Bennett 2003). Research experiences build a coherent understanding of science practices through active learning and encourage students to elicit new ideas and test those ideas (Lopatto 2007). Gibbs et al. (2014) found research self-efficacy among URM female graduate students was positively associated with higher levels of interest in research careers at PhD completion. However, unlike previous research that surveyed majority White participants (Bauer and Bennett 2003; Lopatto 2007) or URM graduate students (Gibbs et al. 2014), this study showed undergraduate research as an effective strategy for increasing self-efficacy and the pursuit of STEM careers among undergraduate minority women, particularly African American females.

A student’s STEM identity is not only shaped by their belief in their capabilities (self-efficacy) of being a competent participant in STEM (Hunter et al. 2007) but also by their perception of support and recognition by others (Carlone and Johnson 2007). Research suggests that African American women’s success in STEM fields relies on the development of an identity that is harmonious with their gender and racial identities and academic interests (Charleston et al. 2014; Borum and Walker 2012; Johnson et al. 2011). Although students may engage in cultural and educational enrichment opportunities, such as undergraduate research, the intersection of racial, gender, and scientific identities may conflict with many of the disingenuous messages URM females receive throughout the educational pipeline (Charleston et al. 2014). Although students did not share specific incidents of negative interactions or exclusive environments, they did emphasize an appreciation for mentorship relationships with faculty, program staff, and graduate students and how the program facilitated these relationships. For instance, students claimed mentors “push you forward and give you personalized advice and incentives and they’re kind of pushing you along to realize that dream of becoming a scientist” and “..they were there when I needed someone to talk to about school”.

Mentoring has become a widely-utilized approach in intervention programs and found highly impactful for professional socialization, scientific knowledge, and personal support for racial and ethnic populations. Stout et al. (2011) found positive learning experiences with supportive mentors enhanced STEM self-efficacy of URM students. In a study by Thiry and Laurenson (2011), 52% of URM students, in contrast to 30% majority students, reported that interactions with research mentors changed their career path and increased the likelihood that they would pursue graduate school and a career in scientific research. Ellington (2006) and Whitten et al. (2004), found faculty-student mentoring relationships play a pivotal role in minority women’s academic self-efficacy, specifically African American females. Our findings also support mentoring as an impactful intervention, particularly for women of color pursuing STEM careers. During focus groups, participants expressed an appreciation for mentoring from not only faculty but also program staff and graduate students. The supportive and respectful relationships the participants experienced with program staff, faculty members, and graduate students provided a source of emotional support, modeling, and guidance that bolstered their confidence in STEM.

Another important component of the transition to graduate school is establishing a peer support network with other URM students. In alignment with SCCT, support systems boost a student’s feeling of self-efficacy, but perceived barriers, such as ethnic isolation, impacts the career development of students, particularly among URM groups (Lent et al. 2000). During phases II and III, program staff recognized the importance of social interactions among URM peers and implemented several additional strategies that promoted networking: bi-monthly meetings, group conference travel, site visits, outreach activities, and partnerships with other MRT programs. During student interviews, student participants shared how peer interactions created a positive, inclusive environment that facilitated feelings of belonging and motivation. This is supported by various student statements during focus groups, including: “It was always good to have a second family at school while you were away from home”, “..By seeing people who look like you and are similar to you succeed makes it easier for one to believe that they too can achieve success”, and “..we want to support each other”. Students also expressed an appreciation for the relationships they established with students from diverse backgrounds. For example, a student stated, “It was great making friends in the laboratory and learning about their cultures”. Students valued the broader support systems with other students and professionals with similar or diverse backgrounds. Through participation in the MRT program, students established a network of support that expanded beyond the classroom to other URM students in STEM.

Students also expressed peer mentoring with graduate students, supported only in phase III of the program, as an influential factor for academic persistence and continuation into PhD programs. For instance, students shared during focus groups, “… They were there not just for science but for friendship too” and “…You get to see graduate students of color knowing they have the same struggles...They encouraged me.” Near-peer mentoring is characterized by individuals with slightly more advanced learning and/or training paired with individuals who are less advanced (Trujillo et al. 2015). Near-peer mentors can serve as a coach, advocate, liaison, or friend (Colvin and Ashman 2010) and promote mentee growth with academic skills, career decision-making, health and well-being, and aspirations (Ward et al. 2012). The use of near-peer mentoring with URM graduate students in this study created a broader support system for undergraduate participants and facilitated feelings of support on a PWI campus in which students often experience racial isolation.

Our findings support previous research indicating that women of color, who are often challenged in finding peers with similar academic experiences and backgrounds within their majors, seek out academic and personal support to strengthen their confidence in STEM majors and determination toward graduation (Ong et al. 2011). According to Johnson (2012), African American female students who lack peers with similar ethnic backgrounds experience feelings of segregation. As a result, minority women often seek peer support outside of STEM. However, the MRT program in this study provided participants with a peer support network with other URM students within STEM to alleviate ethnic isolation, which positively impacted their career development. Due to the increased number of networking strategies, including the addition of graduate mentors, the program experienced significant improvements in academic grades, graduation rates, and graduate school matriculation. As noted earlier, the percentage of students who enrolled into PhD programs between phases II and III increased from 22 to 71%. In phase III, 58% of program graduates finished with at least a 3.2 GPA, an increase from 42% during phase II. Furthermore, the 4-years graduation rates between phases II and III dramatically increased from 36 to 67%. This evidence further affirms the common theme that peer and faculty relationships provided by the MRT program serves as an influential factor in student persistence in their major and into advanced levels of education.

Limitations of the Study

Qualitative interviews are attractive methods for collecting detailed information about program activity perceptions by participants; however, they rely on participant openness and accuracy. Social desirability bias, the tendency of an interviewee for presenting him/herself in a favorable way rather than providing truthful answers, may alter the validity of participant narratives (Fisher 1993). As noted earlier, the authors of this study served as the program evaluator and the other two served as program administrators and staff. Therefore, the authors engaged with participants extensively while they were enrolled in the program. According to Bonner and Tolhurst (2002), insider-researchers have a greater understanding of the culture being studied, maintain the natural flow of social interaction, and promote the telling and judging of truth through established intimacy. Thus, in this study the interviewer-participant rapport was easily established. However, on the other hand participants may have felt obligated to provide favorable accounts of the MRT program.

Secondly, there are proposed drawbacks associated with an insider-researcher, including the impact of personal biases (Floyd and Arthur 2012; Sykes and Potts 2008). Pre-existing subjectivities of the interviewers may cognitively filter the representation of data. In order to establish trustworthiness of data collection and analysis, the researchers engaged in a process of collective review and analysis of the qualitative data. In addition, the results obtained represent themes commonly identified by the researchers and triangulated by other data sources.

Finally, due to a change of recruitment efforts during phase II, the outcomes achieved during phase III may have been influenced by selection bias. Although the GPAs of accepted participants declined, program staff implemented a selection process identifying program applicants that expressed potential interest in a research career. Thus, the improved outcomes on students matriculating into PhD programs during phase III may have been influenced by the acceptance of program participants with existing career interest.

Conclusion

This study presents results from a 14-years program designed to promote the pursuit of a doctoral degree in a biomedical field among students historically underrepresented in the sciences in the U.S. Since African American females were the predominant participants during the three phases of the program, it was particularly important to understand the factors or interventions that hinder or support the academic and career development of women of color in STEM fields. The study adds student voices to the current literature supporting MRT programs as effective interventions influencing positive outcomes for URM students pursing and achieving doctoral degrees. The examination of performance metrics and shared experiences and perceptions from program participants found career exploration opportunities, impactful research experiences, effective mentoring relationships, and URM peer support as the most important program components influencing continuation into research graduate programs. The results of this study support social cognitive career theory in which interventions affiliated with an MRT program impacts students’ sense of confidence, college persistence, and career decision-making, specifically among underrepresented groups.

Additionally, the results provide support for the conclusion that programs need to evolve depending on the populations they serve because minority groups face unique challenges or barriers. This entailed the introduction of new components as well as an increase in the frequency of other activities, including graduate student mentors, a full-time counselor, group travel, and additional peer, program staff and faculty interactions. With this information, institutions and education programs may provide or improve support and resources needed to better serve URM students, particularly African American females, with science majors, increase the number of URM students pursuing PhD or MD/PhD degrees, and enrich minority representation in research careers.

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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