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Fueling Research Diversity: A peek inside UTEP’s Doctoral Pipeline

Nina Marie Beltran made several key discoveries while working in a UTEP research laboratory. Chief among them was an epiphany — a desire to pursue a doctoral degree after completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Such a feat would bolster evidence of The University of Texas at El Paso’s distinction as a top producer of future doctoral degree recipients. It would also contribute to sorely needed national academic diversity in science and engineering education described by a pair of pioneers who promote continual expansion of minority participation in academia and industry.

According to research conducted by Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Ph.D., president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Peter H. Henderson, Ph.D., senior adviser to the UMBC president, UTEP is the top institution in the continental United States for producing Hispanic bachelor’s graduates who continue on to earn doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Since Beltran’s first lab experience, she has taken advantage of every opportunity available to help her become a more competitive candidate for graduate school.

“I’m currently working on a manuscript as first author,” Beltran said. “That’s an opportunity that not a lot of undergrads get at universities.”

Once her doctoral ambitions are fulfilled, Beltran will join the ranks of a robust, diverse STEM workforce that draws on talent of all backgrounds and allows the nation to compete in today’s science- and technology-driven global economy.

This growing group was highlighted by a study Hrabowski and Henderson published in February 2019 in Issues in Science and Technology, a publication for discussion of public policy related to science, engineering and medicine.

The article reiterated that UTEP is one of the top U.S. universities for producing Hispanic bachelor’s graduates who continue on to earn doctoral degrees in STEM fields.

Hrabowski and Henderson co-authored “Challenging U.S. Research Universities and Funders to Increase Diversity in the Research Community,” which analyzed the available National Science Foundation (NSF) data about the baccalaureate origins of the country’s Hispanic and African-American doctorate recipients. Their findings indicate that UTEP was No. 3 in producing graduates with bachelor’s degrees who subsequently earned doctorates. The University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez and the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

Read more at UTEP Magazine.  |  Author: Victor H. Arreola – UTEP Communications