Cost-Effective Recruitment Strategies That Attract Underrepresented Minority Undergraduates Who Persist to STEM Doctorates

SAGE Open. 2016 Jul 15. DOI: 10.1177/2158244016657143


The paucity of underrepresented minorities (URMs) earning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees remains an issue in revitalizing the U.S. biomedical workforce. Due to reductions in federal funding, maintaining the integrity of programs that focus on URM retention and recruitment is crucial. We present data on the mechanisms used to recruit URM students to our program (e.g., email, events, referrals, website), which individually were equally effective in attracting applicants to the program. Recruitment mechanisms were grouped and further classified relative to their cost to implement as lower and higher cost. Our results indicate that lower cost mechanisms, statistically, were as effective as higher cost mechanisms in recruiting students who persisted to PhD programs. Using a binary logistic regression model to predict PhD matriculation, higher cost mechanisms were not significant predictors of PhD matriculation. Collectively, these data demonstrate for the first time that lower cost mechanisms can be as successful in recruiting URM students to summer programs who pursue PhDs in STEM fields.


Cherilynn R. Shadding, Dawayne Whittington, Latricia E. Wallace, Wambul S. Wandu, and Richard K. Wilson