Conference on Understanding
Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research
May 10, 2008, Washington, DC
Though African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians are more than 30% of
the school-age population, those now graduating with degrees in the natural
sciences are still less than 15 percent annually. Along with efforts to address
this persistent underrepresentation, it is vital to look through a research lens
on strategies that are demonstrably effective. An emerging community of
researchers is focused on this topic, especially evidence that can serve as the
basis for designing effective interventions in science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The 2nd Annual Conference on Interventions that Encourage Minorities to
Pursue Research Careers took place on May 2-4, 2008 in Atlanta. Organized by the
Minorities Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology and a
Planning Committee comprising members of the broader research and education
communities, the Conference attracted 200 participants, including researchers,
sponsors, program designers, evaluators, and policy analysts.
The Conference featured a mix of plenary panels, concurrent mini-symposia,
and posters that detailed the knowledge base on interventions (investigative
studies on approaches, mentoring, and career choice), as well as professional
necessities (funding, collaborations, and publishing). The emphasis on "how to
intervene" drew heavily on the literature from the social, behavioral, and
economic sciences highlighting methodologies and outcomes in STEM.
Coming a year after a 2007 National Institutes of Health-funded workshop on
Understanding Interventions organized by the National Academy of Sciences in
Washington, DC, the 2nd Annual Conference sought to inform policy and practice,
while fostering a multidisciplinary community of scholars dedicated to
hypothesis-based investigations of what succeeds in recruiting and sustaining
underrepresented students along the STEM pathway into the workforce.
The program book, including the agenda, abstracts of presentations and other
conference details, is posted at http://www.understandinginterventions.org.
The web site will be updated periodically as a portal to and discussion
center about interventions targeted to STEM students, educators, and
The 2nd Annual Conference was funded by a grant from the National Institutes
of General Medical Sciences' Minority Access to Research Careers program to the
American Society for Cell Biology. Please see the web site for updates on the
3rd Annual Conference, which will begin to be posted this summer.
For more information, please contact Dr. Anthony L. DePass
or Dr. Daryl E. Chubin