Patching the Pipeline: Reducing Educational Disparities in the Sciences Through Minority Training Programs

For more than 40 years, there has been a concerted national effort to promote diversity among the scientific research community. Yet given the persistent national-level disparity in educational achievements of students from various ethnic and racial groups, the efficacy of these programs has come into question. The current study reports results from a longitudinal study of students supported by a national National Institutes of Health–funded minority training program, and a propensity score matched control. Growth curve analyses using Hierarchical Linear Modeling show that students supported by Research Initiative for Science Excellence were more likely to persist in their intentions to pursue a scientific research career. In addition, growth curve analyses indicate that undergraduate research experience, but not having a mentor, predicted student persistence in science.