Florida A & M University (FAMU) in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s GlycoMIP: an NSF Materials Innovation Platform seeks to establish a Partnership for Research and Education in Materials to Fueling Opportunities for Successful and TransformativE Retention of Chemistry Majors (PREM to FOSTER-Chem) in Graduate Programs.  With the assistance of the new seed grants through PREM funding, PREM to FOSTER-Chem plans to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (URM) from FAMU Masters of Science (M.S.) in Chemistry program enrollment, retention, and attainment of PhD’s in chemistry related fields.  The proposed partnership with GlycoMIP will use novel polymeric materials as the foundation for FAMU students to work jointly with junior and mid-career faculty at both universities to build a new research platform to connect more strongly with students.  Linking PREM to FOSTER-Chem affiliates (faculty, students, and staff) through research, teaching, and mentorship will create a pipeline to recruit and matriculate for more URM students into graduate programs in STEM.  

Vision Statement: PREM to FOSTER-Chem will become the guiding platform in building future sustainable infrastructures to support and retain URM students from FAMU chemistry into PhD programs at VT and nationally.  Ultimately, our team strives to plant seeds that will FOSTER the establishment of effective pipelines for URM students, primarily African Americans, to obtain graduate degrees in STEM resulting in increased job diversity both locally and nationally in the future.  

Mission: The PREM to FOSTER-Chem team proposes to develop interdisciplinary academic and research opportunities with GlycoMIP in the areas of polymer and glycan development using the following goals:

  1. Increase the interest, matriculation, and attainment of graduate degrees of URM students from FAMU MS chemistry to PhD programs at Virginia Tech by introducing polymer focused research into the current curriculum.
  2. Build research partnerships that merge expertise from FAMU chemistry with VT GlycoMIP affiliates to increase our ability to design, synthesize, and characterize novel semi-synthetic polymers and increase productivity.
  3. Establish a pipeline for FAMU chemistry students to successfully matriculate into PhD programs at VT by proactively building connections between students and GlycoMIP faculty beyond research to include course design/development.
  4. Improve self-efficacy and retention of URM groups in graduate programs by implementing mentoring and research training tools from the junior year to minimize anxiety/imposter syndrome and maximize program outcomes.
  5. Institute an infrastructure to stimulate research and academic productivity in FAMU chemistry by motivating processes that promote institutional changes that affect the entire FAMU community.
Jane Doe

Research Scientist, California State University

Hans Hanley

Electrical Engineering, Princeton University