WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The first cohort of Purdue University’s Emerging Leaders Science Scholars pilot program has begun. John Gates, vice provost for diversity and inclusion at the university, says the program aims to grow access for underrepresented students in the science fields.
The university says most of the program’s 88 students are on campus taking in-person and hybrid classes, with the remainder participating in online learning.
“We saw a clear opportunity to offer an extremely attractive experience to high-achieving students from populations historically underserved by Purdue,” said Patrick Wolfe, dean of the College of Science. “Working with colleagues in our provost’s office, we analyzed past data and admissions outcomes, and redoubled both our efforts and our financial investment to create not just a focused set of scholarships, but in addition a much more holistic scholars program.”
To launch the pilot program, Purdue says the College of Science collaborated with Gates and Kristina Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management.
“For Purdue to live its land-grant mission, we need to engage and serve and provide access to a student population of various backgrounds,” said Gates. “The Emerging Leaders Science Scholars looks to grow access for underrepresented students in the science fields across campus. Our initial goal was 50 students. But thanks to the teamwork and vision of all, we were able to accept nearly double that amount.”
Emma Davis, a freshman participating in the newly-created program, says her ultimate goal is to develop computer software that can explore the farthest reaches of the solar system and distant galaxies.
“I was amazed by all of the opportunities that come with the program. More doors have been opened to me,” she said.
The university says the program includes financial support for a guaranteed study abroad opportunity, summer experiences such as internships or summer courses, acceptance in a learning community and being paired with a faculty mentor. More than half of the inaugural class is female, a quarter are first-generation college students, and more than one-third are from Indiana.
The program stems from Purdue’s existing campus-wide Emerging Leaders scholarship program.