Primed for Ph.D.s: LSU Prepares Ethnic Minority Students for Doctoral Pursuits
BATON ROUGE – In June, LSU hosted its 15th Pre-Doctoral Scholars Institute, or PDSI, a summer program devoted to increasing the number of students in under-represented populations entering doctoral programs and introducing those students to the LSU Graduate School and Baton Rouge.
Students came from across the country to the institute and gained valuable research experience. LSU faculty and staff also assisted the PDSI scholars in preparing graduate school applications.
PDSI scholars participated in a series of workshops, seminars and social activities, and conducted research projects with the guidance of faculty mentors. Scholars represented different disciplines and institutional types, including historically black colleges and universities, women's colleges, and predominantly white institutions. At the conclusion of the institute, PDSI scholars presented their research at a symposium.
The 2011 Pre-Doctoral Scholars Institute scholars and mentors included:
- Antoine Albert, a Philadelphia native from Morehouse College who worked with Greg Stone, professor in the Department of French Studies;
- Alexis Davis, a Kansas City, Mo., native from Philander Smith College who worked with Alex Cohen, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology;
- Erica Howard, an Austell, Ga., native from Agnes Scott College who worked with Aaron Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences;
- Morgan Maite, a Grove City, Ohio, native from Spelman College who worked with Marlene Janes, associate professor in the Department of Food Science;
- Corneisha McCorkle, a Marrero native from Xavier University of Louisiana who worked with Solimar Otero, assistant professor in the Department of English;
- Ronald Pikes, a Flint, Mich., native from Grambling State University who worked with faculty mentors Sarah Becker, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, and Michael Ralph, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University;
- Nelahnta Riley, a native of New Orleans from Xavier University of Louisiana who worked Jason Hicks, associate professor in the Department of Psychology;
- Erica Roberson, a Fairfield, Calif., native from Alabama A&M University who worked with Janna Oetting, professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders;
- Brook Sims, a Waukegan, Ill., native from Alabama A&M University who worked with Amy Copeland, associate professor in the Department of Psychology;
- Alonza Terry, a Conyers, Ga., native from Xavier University of Louisiana who worked with Ricardo Estrada, professor in the Department of Mathematics;
- Jasmine Walker, a Roanoke, Ala., native from Alabama A&M University who worked with Kathleen Bratton, associate professor in the Department of Political Science;
- Nyomi Washington, a native of Lithonia, Ga., from Agnes Scott College who worked with Jane Cassidy, vice provost for Academic Affairs;
- Rachel Williams, a Baton Rouge native from Dillard University who worked with Mary Lou Kelley, professor in the Department of Psychology; and
- Joseph Wyatt, a Plainfield, Ill., native from the University of Arkansas who worked with Todd Monroe, associate professor in the College of Engineering.
Departments across campus, in addition to off-campus units, also participated in PDSI by providing instructors and resources. These on- and off-campus units included the Center for Academic Success, Communication across the Curriculum, Campus Life, College of Education, Wellness Education, the African-American Cultural Center, the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association of LSU and the Educational Testing Service.
The PDSI 2011 student scholars also had special sessions with faculty and administrators including Katrice Albert, vice provost for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach in the Office of Academic Affairs; Jas Sullivan, assistant professor in political science; Zakiya Wilson from the Office of Strategic Initiatives, assistant director for graduate recruitment and admissions in the Department of Chemistry; Steve Watkins, associate professor of chemistry; Saundra McGuire, assistant vice chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Retention at Academic Affairs; Brian Bourke, assistant professor in the Department of Educational, Theory, Policy & Practice; Jared Llorens, assistant professor in the Public Administration Institute; Crystal Johnson, assistant professor in the School of the Coast & Environment; Maylen Aldana, assistant director in the Office of Residential Life; Will Hires, engineering and scholarly communications librarian; Rebecca Burdette, assistant director for Communication across the Curriculum; Ashley Granger, health promotion coordinator in the Student Health Center; and Jennifer Loftin, evaluation project manager in the Gordon A. Cain Center for Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Literacy.
For more information regarding PDSI and other graduate diversity efforts, please contact Malcolm Richardson, associate dean for the Graduate School, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Marco Barker, assistant to the vice provost and director of educational equity for Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach, at email@example.com.