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Karen DePauw awarded grant to explore lack of diversity in STEM doctoral degree recipients


Karen P. DePauw Karen P. DePauw

BLACKSBURG, Va., May 24, 2012 – The Division of Human Resources of the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Karen DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education, a planning grant to develop a model for preparing future faculty from underrepresented groups for doctoral degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). DePauw and her colleagues from the Virginia Council of Graduate Schools have established the Virginia Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate to facilitate the development of a state-wide network.

The alliance includes representatives from Virginia community colleges, the state's historically black colleges and universities, and other colleges and universities across the state. Two working conferences and focus group discussions are planned as part of the grant.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a structured mentoring network to attract talented students through undergraduate studies to graduate education and ultimately to the level of college and university professors,” DePauw said.

The outcome of the project will be a plan of action that will address the issue of underrepresentation in STEM fields. The broader impact includes societal benefits such as a more diverse faculty serving as role models to attract students to become professors in STEM fields; enhanced collaborations among universities in the state to develop STEM scientists in higher education; and, the creation of a model to help other states develop strategic networks to enhance their STEM education efforts.

DePauw received her bachelor's degree from Whittier College, a master's degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University.

The Graduate School at Virginia Tech promotes graduate education as a critical component in the transmission of new knowledge, research, ideas, and scholarship. It is responsible for the development, administration, and evaluation of graduate education throughout the university, providing support to faculty, staff, and more than 6,000 graduate students. The Graduate School is committed to building a diverse graduate community and vibrant intellectual environment to help prepare graduates to lead. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.