P902: Undergraduate research as a tool to increase diversity in the chemical sciences
As the need to increase diversity in the chemical science became more urgent, both federal and private organizations began looking at the role of undergraduate research in diversity efforts. As part of this effort, the National Science Foundation has sponsored workshops on undergraduate research that looked at ways to broaden participation and increase diversity in the sciences, especially the chemical sciences. The Council on Undergraduate Research published “Broadening Participation in Undergraduate Research” which outlined best practices and design principles for successful programs. Controlled studies at universities looked at the impact of undergraduate research on student success. The conclusions show that undergraduate research is an essential tool in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in the chemical sciences. Over the same period of time, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas State University employed these principles to increase the percentage of underrepresented students in the department. Several federally-funded university-wide programs were used to bring students into the research labs. These programs, when combined with other departmental initiatives, have resulted in dramatic increases in the total number of majors, the total number of students participating in undergraduate research, and the percentage of these students from underrepresented groups.