The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program is an alliance-based program. The program’s theory is based on the Tinto model for student retention. The overall goal of the program is to assist universities and colleges in diversifying the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce by increasing the number of STEM baccalaureate and graduate degrees awarded to populations historically underrepresented in these disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. The 40 LSAMP programs across the country, take a comprehensive approach to student development and retention. However, they are different in their method and tactics based on their needs of the institutions in their alliances.
All LSAMP programs implement some alliance-wide activities to support the retention and graduation of participation students across all institutions in their alliances. For example, the Arkansas LSAMP program, led by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff implement an Annual Research Conference which allows the Alliance-wide interaction of the LSAMP students as they reunite with their Pre-First Year Academy cohort, give oral and poster presentations, hear from successful URM scientists and receive graduate school information while developing a network for future internship and graduate school opportunities. Similarly, Illinois LSAMP has been implementing the Annual Student Research Symposium, a 2-day annual Interdisciplinary STEM conference to allow LSAMP scholars to share their academic and summer research findings in the form of posters and oral presentations to peers, professors, and mentors from colleges and universities across the state of Illinois. The participating students increase their confidence and enhance public speaking skills in the conference.
LSAMP institutions implement activities to support the development and retention of their target students. For example, the University of Mississippi, implements a five-weeks Bridge STEM Program to prepare the eligible pre-freshman students for STEM major courses in fall. All LSAMP freshman students are required to participate in this program which includes foundation courses in biology, chemistry, computer skill math/engineering. In addition, students will also attend various seminars, including health promotion, career center, financial aid, counseling center, and student organizations.” This has helped for coping with the challenges of the first year of college as most of these students come from small communities and are first-generation college attendees.
A particular emphasis of LSAMP program is transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment strategies in support of racial and ethnic groups. Many of these students start the community colleges where there is a great opportunity to recruit and develop them for transferring to STEM programs at four-year institutions within the alliance. Hinds college in Mississippi, a partner in Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation (LSMAMP) has been implementing summer academies, transfer workshops, STEM discipline field trips to four-year institutions, and STEM lecture series by science faculty members from the research-intensive institutions. These activities have enhanced the opportunities for URM students to transfer directly from Hinds community college to Jackson State University and other four-year institutions in LSMAMP.