Frequently Asked Questions
The National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the Virginia-North Carolina Alliance (VA-NC AMP) is led by the University of Virginia and includes the following partners: Bennett College for Women, Elizabeth City State University, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, Johnson C. Smith University, St. Augustine's College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech. Each of the eight institutions offer individually tailored recruitment, retention, and enhancement activities to support their students. The VA-NC AMP's primary goal is to double the number of underrepresented minority (i.e., African American, Hispanic, and Native American) students earning STEM (Science, Technology, and Engineering, and Mathematics) and computing baccalaureate degrees by 2012. Prospective George Mason University undergraduate students interested in Volgenau School of Engineering and in College of Science majors should call 703-993-1511 for more details.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About The VA-NC AMP Program
When did this program start? How long will it last?
The NSF award was granted to VA-NC LSAMP in May of 2007 and is funded through 2012.
What is the range of AMP activities in which students can participate?
Each institution will provide specific activities geared to the particular needs of its students. Listed below are some of the activities that are available to students from the eight participating institutions.
- Common reading experiences
Students have the opportunity to read STEM related literature and discuss material with their peers and faculty.
- Peer/faculty mentoring
Faculty and peer mentors provide individualized support to students. We are developing training materials for mentors.
All of the partner institutions provide tutoring services for Alliance students.
- Web site blog
Through the VA-NC LSAMP web site students can communicate with their counterparts at partner institutions and learn from each other's experiences.
- Annual symposium
This will be an annual event which rotates between the partner institutions in which all students from each of the schools can convene for a unique learning opportunity.
- Workshops and colloquia
Scientists and researchers will present colloquiums.
Internships will be an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their field of study, experience real world applications of their knowledge, and see future employment possibilities.
- Summer research experiences
Engagement in summer research experiences will give students opportunities to work with faculty on research projects.
- Summer BRIDGE
Summer BRIDGE aids fist-semester freshmen in making a successful transition from high school to college. The program provides an academic curriculum, access to student support services, and an environment in which students can acclimate to campus and develop effective academic strategies. Bridge programs also exist for students transferring from community colleges. At some Alliance institutions the Bridge programs take place during the first year of college.
How does an undergraduate student benefit from AMP?
AMP can provide support during the undergraduate years to facilitate successful completion of the STEM degree program. Participation connects students with faculty and provides opportunities to become acquainted with STEM professionals thereby developing professional networks. Students are also advised regarding graduate study opportunities and enrollment.
Are there financial benefits to joining this program?
Each institution determines what specific financial support it can provide to participating students. Often there are funds available for book stipends, research, or travel.
How does a student qualify for participation in VA-NC LSAMP?
You must be an underrepresented minority undergraduate student majoring or intending to major in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering or mathematics). According to the National Science Foundation underrepresented minorities in these majors include: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.
What majors are considered STEM disciplines?
The AMP contact person at each college or university can identify which of the majors listed by NSF are offered at your institution.
Why should anyone pursue a career in the STEM professions?
Career opportunities exist in the academic, clinical and industrial arenas with rewards including personal achievements, high value to society, the excitement of innovation and competitive salaries.
Why should anyone consider joining this program?
The STEM disciplines can be intensive and challenging. The experience of being an underrepresented minority in these classes may feel isolating. The program can help you connect with other students. The program offers services that can help support you with your coursework, find internships and summer research opportunities and develop a professional network.
When can an interested person join the program?
Many students enter as freshmen or first year students. Students also enter as transfer students from community colleges or enter the program after switching majors.
How long can someone participate in the program?
If you continue in a major in the STEM disciplines you can participate in the program for your entire undergraduate career. The advising and mentoring possibilities available to you through the program will be an asset as you plan for graduate school or employment.
Will students meet some of their counterparts involved in AMP activities from the other institutions?
Yes! We will be holding annual symposia which will be an opportunity to meet AMP students from the other institutions. Summer research may afford this opportunity also.
I recently transferred to one of the alliance institutions from my local community college where I was majoring in a STEM discipline. Will I be eligible to participate in AMP activities?
Contact the person who coordinates AMP at the new institution to set up a time to discuss the coursework completed thus far and your interest in AMP. The program is designed to accommodate transfer students!
If someone is not strong academically in mathematics but has a knack for biology and computer science, can AMP activities help them identify an appropriate major?
Yes! The AMP contact person for your institution can discuss with you your interests and abilities then point you towards a suitable advisor. Participation in poster sessions, mentoring opportunities, common reading experiences and annual symposia will help you reflect on whether your proposed course of study is appropriate for you.
With students who are struggling with some of the requirements for a STEM major is there tutoring support they can receive?
Yes, all of our alliance institutions offer tutoring. Contact the person at the participating institution to inquire about tutoring services. We want all of our students to succeed!
Why should someone consider doing summer research?
Undergraduates who participate in summer research achieve higher academic success than those who do not and are more likely to pursue graduate school.
Why should anyone consider going to graduate school?
Many more job opportunities in the STEM fields will be available to you with a graduate school degree. Also, some of you will become the next generation of professors. We want to diversify the STEM fields including the professoriate.
Who oversees the programs at the individual institutions?
Will AMP activities help a student find a job after graduation?
As an AMP student you will have the opportunity to develop professional networks through internships and summer research which will be an asset during your job search.
Visit http://www.virginia.edu/amp/ to get contact information for the program coordinators at each participating institution and more information on this VA-NC Alliance. Also visit http://www.virginia.edu/amp/investigators.html, which provides biographical information about the principal investigator for each school. At George Mason, Dr. E. Bernard White is Principal Investigator and Dr. Alok Berry is Program Director. You may call 703-993-1511 for more information.