The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Grant to Recruit Minorities

A collaborative effort between UNC-Chapel Hill and two of the state's historically black universities aims to increase the number of minority students enrolled in graduate-level biomedical and life science programs.

The Partnership for Under-Represented Scientists United for Education (PURSUE) - using a half-million dollar grant provided by the National Institutes of Health - plans to recruit underrepresented minority students to enroll in master's degree programs at N.C. Central University and N.C. Agricultural & Technical State University and master's and doctoral programs at UNC-CH.

PURSUE defines underrepresented minorities as blacks, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans.

To qualify for the grant, students must receive their undergraduate education at either N.C. Central or N.C. A&T. Eight grant recipients will be selected in January and will receive either up to $13,000 a year for master's level work or up to $16,000 a year for doctoral work.

Rudolph Jackson, dean of graduate studies at N.C. Central, said the PURSUE program will allow students who are enrolled at one university to take classes at another, helping to unite the academic communities at UNC-CH and N.C. Central.

"There are some things (N.C. Central) does better and there are some things UNC(-CH) can do better because of resources and faculty in different places." Jackson said.

In recent months, chancellors at the UNC system's historically black colleges have outlined plans to raise enrollment at their universities.

Jackson said that while the PURSUE program would not significantly raise enrollment by itself, it - along with other similar programs - will allow N.C. Central to attract more students.

LaMont Bryant, who will be the first PURSUE graduate, said he is expecting to wrap up his doctoral work in the next few weeks. "(The program) is a great opportunity for minority students to see what research has to offer," Bryant said.

The PURSUE program used to exist under a different name. Bryant is one of two students who were participating in the program when it changed names earlier this year.

Phyllis Daniels, PURSUE coordinator, said there are few minorities with doctorates, so each student who completes a doctoral degree makes a big difference in the number of minorities with advanced degrees in the field.

Daniels said students who participate in the PURSUE program not only make valuable contributions to their fields, but also serve as role models.

"When (minority) students who are in high school see (other minority) students who are able to complete Ph.D. degrees, they feel like it is something they too can achieve."

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