Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Recruitment
Retention Strategies, Mentoring, Scholarships, & Fellowships

Graduate Education Strategies for Increasing the Number of Under-Represented Students (URS) in STEM PhD programs

Pre-PhD Scholar Program- Building early bridges for Graduate School Placement - This strategy is designed to identify students for PhD programs before other competing factors intervene. BS/MS/PhD Triple Degree Program agreement with some selected local and national minority four-year colleges focuses on creating a pipeline for students who wish to pursue PhD degrees by admitting promising students as “PhD scholars “ as early as in the under-graduate junior year.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) -Successful REU models are identified and used in preparing and retaining prospective URM graduate students and on achieving success in doctoral programs. Active undergraduate research experience is one of the most effective strategies for attracting talented undergraduates to STEM and motivating them for graduate education and STEM careers

Discovery Graduate Recruitment Weekend Event -  Discovery Graduate Engineering event is a program typically designed to host underrepresented students from partnering pipeline institutions (HBCU/MI and non-PhD granting institutions). The event typically consists of department tours with graduate students and faculty members, dinner and lunch with various faculty members, and presentation by faculty designed to highlight the research focus areas in the departments. The purpose of the program is to offer URM and women students the opportunity to meet faculty, explore research opportunities, interact with current graduate students, visit the research facilities, and have a campus feel of the University culture.   

Strategic Partnerships with HBCUs/MIs, non-PhD granting institutions, and national laboratories and the PhD-granting institutions;Partnerships with students’ organizations: (National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Women in Engineering Program Advocates Network (WEPAN), Society of Hispanics Professional Engineers (SHPE)) of underrepresented groups are developed for effective dissemination of information and mailing of fellowship packages to prospective graduate students.

On-campus Recruitment by Academic Mentoring - High-achieving undergraduates are assigned a faculty mentor whose role is to motivate and guide the student through a transition to graduate education.

Off-Campus Visits and Peer mentoring - There is the need to take PhD institutions and the opportunities available directly to the minority or non-PhD granting institution. This means planning recruitment visits to selected minority campuses and professional society meetings or minority organizations to disseminate information about graduate program opportunities, interview students and identify promising students.

Scholarships and Fellowships - Several fellowships exist to address the critical need to recruit and retain graduate and professional students. Each STEM college awards Graduate Diversity Fellowships to graduate students who contribute to the diversity of the college.    

Multi-campus plan for recruitment through academic mentoring -   The use of existing faculty-student mentoring programs between undergraduates and graduate faculty at the PhD institutions can serve as an effective graduate transition strategy.

Preparing Students for Transition to Graduate Education -A strategy designed to motivate and guide women and URM students across collaborating institutions to decide on graduate studies before the end of junior year and how to research for prospective graduate school. Students need to understand the purpose of graduate school

Graduate Education Community and Structured mentoring - To enhance typical academic activities that can increase the retention of URM students.

  1. Provide Structured Academic Faculty Mentoring of Graduate Students:  Faculty academic mentoring is a process of helping graduate students achieve success through a relationship with a faculty mentor.
  2. Graduate Student-Centered Community - This means developing a structure for effective community engagement and mentoring partnership with all stakeholders (graduate students, post-docs, faculty,staff, and administrators) for production of increased number of URM in STEM PhD and postdoctoral programs.

Pre-PhD Scholar Program

 
The Engineering Office of Diversity (EOD) identifies engineering students with GPA over 3.5 from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering from institutions across the nation. The students are chosen by extensive information including GPA, interviews, essays, research interests and recommendations.   

Engineering faculties are recruited to work with the students for the eight-week period.  Each student is mentored by the faculty mentors who lead multidisciplinary teams in advanced research and are expected to:

  • work 30 hours per week in the lab
  • attend scheduled workshops
  • attend bi-weekly mentoring sessions with the Associate Dean for Diversity
  • participate in ethics forum
  • prepare literature reviews
  • maintain a daily journal
  • write a journal-quality paper on research findings
  • present said research to faculty and graduate students

Each student is paid a stipend.  Out-of-area students are provided housing and a food allowance.
 

Discovery Graduate Recruitment Weekend Event 

Discovery Graduate Engineering event is a program typically designed to host underrepresented students from partnering pipeline institutions (HBCU/MI and non-PhD granting institutions). The event typically consists of department tours with graduate students and faculty members, dinner and lunch with various faculty members, and presentation by faculty designed to highlight the research focus areas in the departments. The purpose of the program is to offer URM and women students the opportunity to meet faculty, explore research opportunities, interact with current graduate students, visit the research facilities, and have a campus feel of the University culture.   


GRADUATE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS AND FELLOWSHIPS


Funding for graduate education is available through many sources, including scholarships and fellowships. The Engineering Office of Diversity (EOD) is committed to helping graduate applicants find appropriate funding.

K. LEROY IRVIS FELLOWSHIP

The K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship Program is designed to address the critical need to recruit and retain graduate and professional students who contribute to the diversity of the Swanson School of Engineering, and to ultimately enhance presence of such students in the professorate. The award is named for distinguished Pitt alumni K. Leroy Irvis. In 1977, Mr. Irvis became the first African American in the history of any of the 50 state governments to hold the position of Speaker of the House. Irvis Fellowships are awarded to incoming students through the School's academic departments. Fellowships are awarded on the strength of the student's graduate application.

In order to integrate students into the research dimension of the professorate, first year Irvis fellows are assigned to work one-on-one with faculty mentors who guide them in specialized research. In their second and third years of residence, fellows are supported by their departments and obtain valuable classroom teaching experience in addition to continued exposure to the research environment.

GRADUATE DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIPS

Graduate diversity fellowships are awarded to graduate students who contribute to the diversity of the school for structured skill-building activities and continued research involvement during the academic year.

TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS AND TEACHING FELLOWSHIPS

Teaching assistantships (TA) and teaching fellowships (TF) are awarded to exceptionally well-prepared students in return for assistance in laboratories, recitation sections, and other teaching duties. Students who receive a full TA or TF position will also receive a full tuition scholarship. Partial TA or TF positions typically include a partial scholarship.

TRAINEESHIPS

Traineeships are awarded to students for training in selected areas. There may be restrictions on the courses that may be taken.

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTSHIPS

Graduate research assistantships (GRA) are awarded to students for assistance with research programs. Scholarships are included with the GRA award. For more information about graduate school funding, please contact Terri Kennelly-Cook via eodadmin@pitt.edu.

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH SCHOLARSHIPS


Please visit this link for information on more scholarships available