Proxies for Success: How the Application Process Correlates to PhD Pursuit for a Small Diversity Research Program

Dawayne Whittington, Latricia E. Wallace, Cherilynn Shadding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) diversity research programs seek to make progress in increasing the number of underrepresented students that pursue STEM at the highest degree levels. Yet few programs have outlined their path to help students achieve the STEM PhD. Our program, Opportunities in Genomics Research (OGR), showed significant increases in PhD matriculation over 8 years of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We explored typical measures, which include grade point average (GPA), institution classification, and graduate school ranking, and found that these measures alone do not explain the improved outcomes. We examined changes in the application materials as proxies for commitment to a PhD degree. These data show a significant correlation of desired degree pursuit to increased proxies and proxy type (open- or close-ended questions answered by applicant or referee). We demonstrate that changes in application procedures for diversity research programs correlate to improved program outcomes with statistical significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSAGE Open
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Keywords

  • STEM
  • application process
  • diversity program outcomes
  • postbaccalaureate research
  • undergraduate research

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