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April 3, 2006

ULM to host Symposia on Diversity in the Sciences April 7-8

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Biological Sciences Education Program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe has been selected to host the second in a series of three symposia on "Diversity in the Sciences: Mentoring and Retaining Underrepresented Students." The ULM symposium is scheduled for April 7-8 in the ULM conference center, located on the 7th floor of the ULM Library.

At the symposium, attendees will learn about funding sources; model programs; retention and mentoring from faculty, student, and administrative perspectives; and hear from two keynote speakers,all with a focus on developing highly successful programs for mentoring underrepresented science students. The symposium's goal is to share this information with institutions, like ULM, primed for change.

The symposia will result in the assembly of a national consortium of colleges and universities promoting diversity in the sciences and in the creation of a web site that will serve as a repository for relevant data, funding sources, and initiatives originating from each symposium.

A fall 2005 symposium at Harvard University concentrated on issues faced by Ivy League schools while a fall 2006 symposium at The University of Washington is to focus on large research institutions. The current symposium at ULM is intended to serve regional universities.

The ULM conference begins on Friday evening at 7 p.m. with an opening address by Dr. Tuajuanda Jordon, formerly of Xavier University and now a senior program officer with HHMI. The title of her presentation is: "Attrition Versus Retention ­ Is It a Question of Survival of the Fittest?"

The conference concludes on Saturday evening with a plenary lecture at 5:30 p.m. by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. His lecture is entitled: "Beating the Odds: Preparing Minority Students for Research Careers in Science." Both lectures are open to the general public.

HHMI, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard University, The University of Washington and The University of Louisiana at Monroe fund the three symposia. HHMI is a private, nonprofit biomedical research organization that conducts basic research in the life sciences and related fields. It also supports programs for the improvement of science education at all levels.

For more information about the Symposia on Diversity in the Sciences, contact Barbara Michaelides, conference coordinator, at 318-342-5550 or at

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