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Professors Share Strategies for Surpassing Research Barriers Focus: Options for Undergraduate Minorities, Underrepresented Students

In a new book about undergraduate research that includes minorities and underrepresented students, Duquesne University professors share their proven tactics for expanding opportunities while collaborating with other institutions.

Four faculty members at the Duquesne, along with several collaborators at other institutions, offered strategies for optimizing research productivity as part of the newly published book, Broadening Participation in Undergraduate Research: Fostering Excellence and Enhancing the Impact. Published by the Council on Undergraduate Research, the book illustrates ways to jump the research divide that often separates selective institutions that offer doctoral degrees and primarily undergraduate and/or historically black institutions.

"We want to ensure research opportunities for those less fortunate than ourselves and help to establish an infrastructure that allows this research to be continued at our collaborators' sites," said David W. Seybert, dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, which has been involved in collaborative research efforts with minority and underrepresented schools for 10 years. "Otherwise, some of the nation's very bright minds are left without the resources needed to produce and present the findings that add to our collective body of scientific knowledge."

Additionally, collaboration of this type enhances the level of productivity and scholarship of Duquesne faculty members, according to Dr. Jeffrey D. Evanseck, Lauritis Chair of Teaching and Technology and lead author for the chapter. Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Evanseck supervises the Center for Computational Sciences at Duquesne, which is made accessible to the undergraduate students.

Because of the University's mission of service, Duquesne has been involved in helping to bridge this gap and build connections between its researchers and those who are part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program funded by the National Science Foundation, as well as institutions focused primarily on undergraduates.

Over the last 10 years, Duquesne has helped to house students and visiting faculty members, paid for stipends and travel, and provided computers and access to advanced instrumentation during the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. The 10-week program, which is now in session, brings students onto campus for research. It culminates on Friday, July 31, with student presentations.

Duquesne has developed collaborative relationships with Florida Memorial University, State University of New York at New Paltz, Prairie View A&M University and Jackson State University. Professors from these schools contributed to the book chapter, in addition to Seybert, Evanseck and Duquesne professors Dr. Ellen S. Gawalt and Dr. Jeffry D. Madura, chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides research opportunities in pharmaceutical, health and forensic sciences as well as biological sciences, chemistry, biochemistry and physics.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.