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Student Recruitment and Selection

1.  Student Recruitment: Since 1992, we have recruited high-ability students who have completed their sophomore or junior undergraduate years. Over the last decade, we have expanded our recruiting efforts at other universities, and in the last three years, 73% of our participants have been from undergraduate institutions other than NAU (see Results of Prior Support). We include a small budget for producing and mailing flyers, and we use a mailing list from the Society for Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) to target our flyers to students and faculty in Biology departments around the country. Most of our requests for applications are by email, from students investigating the NSF-website, as well as our own REU website (http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~shuster). NAU is a rich source of highly qualified Native American and Hispanic students. The University has been accorded “Minority Institution” status and has received major Minority Institution grants. We participate in the Quality Education for Minorities Network. If funded, we will specifically target African American students interested in behavioral and conservation research, and we will redouble our efforts to recruit Native American students (see Results of Prior Support).

2.     The Selection Process: After we attract a pool of REU candidates, we review applicants’ academic credentials, letters of support and personal statements, to match their backgrounds and interests with the research projects of faculty mentors. Our selection goal is to choose the most highly qualified students, who also fit our program goal of providing research experience opportunities to students from backgrounds that are under-represented among behavioral scientists. We begin by sorting students by ethnic background. Our 6 student groups include WhiteNFG (non-first generation college students), WhiteFG (first generation college students), African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian/Pacific Islander (Table 1).

Within each group, we next rank students using 3 criteria: (a) GPA (we favor the highest scores), (b) fit with the program (we favor highly motivated students, who are interested research careers, but who have had few previous research opportunities), and (c) parents’ years in college (we favor students whose 2-parent sum is less than 3 years). Mentors review our recommendations and select their top 2-3 choices. These applicants become our selection pool of acceptable students. We contact the first choice of each mentor and offer these students positions in the program. If a student declines their position, the second choice is contacted. This process continues until all positions are filled. The process creates 4 selection events: (1) student application, (2) identification of the selection pool, (3) offers of positions, and (4) acceptances of offers by applicants. It allows us to populate our program with applicants whose academic qualifications are most outstanding, who fit best with our faculty mentors, and who are strongly motivated to participate in faculty directed research. It also allows us to assess our recruitment goals.

Project Evaluation and Reporting

1.     Assessing Our Recruitment Success: We use 4 criteria for assessing our success in recruiting students. The first 2 criteria measure our overall success in meeting the program goals; that is, that students (a) produce tangible, research results during our 10-week program, and (b) present and/or publish these results as science professionals. As summarized in Results of Prior Support, our record here as been outstanding.

Our second 2 criteria for assessing our program’s success are part of a quantitative method based on evolutionary selection analysis (Shuster and Wade 1997). Here, we assess the rates at which members of different under-represented student groups (c) proceed through our selection process, relative to other student groups, and after completing our program, the rates at which students (d) continue their education and/or pursue careers in science, relative to other student populations.

This method identifies which groups are under- and over-represented within our student population compared to the national pool of students, and using a standardized difference test (Sokal and Rohlf 1981), if these differences are statistically significant. The statistic, Sd, shows the number of standard deviations each group’s current frequency lies above or below their frequency after the previous selection episode. Unlike previously used ‘affirmative action’ procedures (reviewed in Shuster and Wade 1997), our method compares the relative frequencies of under-represented groups within the student population in each selection event. This approach permits the movement of different groups through the selection process to be individually assessed in relation to our program goals. Moreover, it allows us to partition the effects of the selection process into a series of discrete events, whose magnitude and sign can be readily assessed.

2.     Tracking of Former REU Students: We maintain a database of former REU students and up-date it yearly. In our application, we now ask students to include their permanent (usually parents’) mailing address, and during the program, we explain the importance to students and to our program of accurate information on students’ professional progress. Each year, the GA sends letters to these addresses requesting information on students’ current whereabouts, and our methods appear to be successful. Over the last 3 years, we have tracking information on 100% of our 22 students (see Results of Prior Support).

Faculty mentors have maintained contact with many of their former REU students, counseling them and providing letters of recommendation for graduate school. Many of the regional conferences at which students present their work occur after the REU summer program has ended. Faculty use these opportunities to re-connect with students and encourage them to continue their research. In each of the last three years, we have had overlap of new and former students in our program, either as participants or as guest speakers. We believe that this approach not only provides students with greater opportunities to complete their projects, but former students can serve as role models for current program participants.

3.      Pre- and Post-Program Tests: Our evaluation process has and will continue to include data on the educational experience of the research and classroom activities and level of interest in a career in science. We will collect data at the beginning of the beginning and at the end of the 10-week program. The pre-test data will include self-esteem, learning styles, attitudes toward work and family, science-related attitudes, and student-related attitudes. The post-test data will include self-esteem, learning styles, attitudes toward work and family, science-related attitudes, student-related attitudes, course evaluations of the neural and behavioral sciences sequence, and evaluations of the REU program in general.

We have and will again measure self-esteem using the Coopersmith (1975) Inventory. Learning styles are assessed with the Learning-Style Inventory (Kolb 1985). The Work and Family Orientation Questionnaire (WOFO;  Helmreich and Spence 1978) assesses achievement motivation and its expression in the work and family domains. The science-related attitudes scale and the student-related attitudes scale (Fraser 1981) assess changes in attitudes toward science. The questionnaire regarding the REU program designed to see if students found the program to have educational value, to further their chances to get into graduate school, and to help them progress toward a career in science. We also use standardized teaching evaluation forms for NAU classes (see Results of Prior Support).

RESULTS OF PRIOR NSF SUPPORT:

1.     NSF Grant DBI-9988009-003, Research Internships in the Neural and Behavioral Sciences, 2000-02, $179,581, including 1 supplemental award.

Since 1992, we have received 5 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates grants. In the last 4 years our applicant pool has steadily increased in size (1999, N=39; 2000, N=54; 2001, N=92; 2002, N=90). In the last 3 years, 22 students participated in our program, bringing our total number of participants to 108 students over 10 years. The gender composition of the most recent cohort of students was 50% female and 50% male. Of these students, 18% were Hispanic American, 5% were Native American, 18% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 36% were first generation university students from White families. Overall, our 108 participants were 59% female and 41% male. Of these students, 30% were Hispanic American, 19% were Native American, 8% were African American, 10% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 19% were first generation university students from White families. Thus, overall, our participants have been 59% women, and 86% from under-represented minorities in science. This latter percentage is 33% higher than the national proportion of undergraduates in this group (NCES, 2001).

Over 95% of our students have remained in the program throughout the summer. (In the past eight years 100% of our students have completed the summer program. Students who have completed our program have also shown unusual success in continuing their education in graduate and professional careers. Of the 108 participants, 84% have completed their degrees, and 9% are still in school as undergraduates, leaving only 7% who have left school or are otherwise unaccounted for. Our graduation rate, and thus our overall retention rate, is significantly higher (>30%!) than the average retention rate of 52±07% for all undergraduates at 16 other US universities with approximately 20,000 students (NCES, 2001). Of the 91 REU students who have earned their undergraduate degrees, 56% have entered graduate or professional schools. This proportion of our REU participants pursuing graduate degrees is significantly higher than the number of all NAU undergraduates who entered graduate or professional school between 1998-01 (47%, N=403, X2=23.69, P<0.001; NAU Planning Office). Clearly, our program has influenced the quality of science education available to minority undergraduate students, and has significantly increased the number of under-represented minorities who have received undergraduate degrees and pursued careers in science.

In the last 3 years, our students have presented 23 posters at REU poster sessions and 17 papers at professional meetings, with 12 published abstracts and 9 papers published or in review in peer-reviewed journals. This past summer, with supplemental funding from this panel as well as from the Animal Behavior Society, we sent 6 of our students to the ABS annual meeting in Bloomington, IN. Three of these students presented posters summarizing their research and one student (Angela. Agosta) received an Honorable Mention in the Genesis Competition for the Best Undergraduate Student. Overall, our program participants have presented 30 posters at REU poster sessions, 40 papers at professional meetings, with 23 published abstracts, and 15 articles published or in review in peer-reviewed journals. The presentations and posters generated by the last award are summarized below:

a.       Presentations at REU Poster Sessions (student co-authors in bold):

1.      Queen, B., Z. Haga, L. Stevens. 2000. Analysis of the relationship between brainwave entrainment and hypnotic susceptibility. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

2.      Begay, R.S., T.P. Adamson, I.C. Solomon and S.C. Hempleman.  Transmembrane H+ exchange and CO2 signal transduction: effects of anoxia and normoxia.   The 2nd Annual Minority Student Development Program Research Symposium, held Sept. 30, 2000 at NAU.

3.      Blankenship, V. and K. Warren. 2000. Developing new TAT research pictures using the Rasch Model. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

4.      Garcia, K. E. and S. M. Shuster. 2000. The effects of juvenile environment, female reproductive condition and satellite males on breeding site selection in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta (Holmes). REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

1.    Krpata, D., D. Wagner and L. C. Drickamer. 2000. The distribution of burrows in Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

2.      Ortiz, A. and  M. A. Sturtevant. 2000. A simple protocol for analyzing gene expression in chick embryos. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

3.      Stansbury, J., L. C. Drickamer, D. Wagner, and J. Gallie. 2000. A field study of the relative abundance and diversity of birds on Gunnison’s Prairie Dog colonies in northern Arizona. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

4.      Slobodchikoff, C.N., E.M. Husband and E. Fung. 2000. A new method of vocal analysis. REU Poster Presentations, August 2000, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

5.      Agosta, A. and S. M. Shuster. 2001. Factors influencing the colonization of artificial breeding sites by male isopods. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

6.      Ferraris, D. L. and H. Wayment. 2001. In the realms of possible selves: Effects of role models and family involvement on academic achievement. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

7.      Husband, E. M. and C. N. Slobodchikoff. 2001. Architecture of alarm calls in Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

8.      Oparowski K. and S. M. Shuster. 2001. Sperm competition and time investment strategies in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta Holmes. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

9.      Queen, B., E. Vaughan, and L. Stevens . 2001. Correlates of hypnotizability in EEG readings of low, moderate, and highly susceptible right-handed females. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

10. Ratcliff, L. and M. A. Sturtevant . 2001. Distribution analysis of an intertidal gastropod. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

11. Shah, P. J. and C. R. Propper. 2001. The Effects of ACTH on corticosterone and SF-1 levels in the bullfrog, Rana Catesebeiana. REU Poster Presentations August 2001, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

12. Ferraris, D. L. H. A. Wayment and B. W.-L. Packard. 2002. Oh, the possibilities of possible selves: The effect of role models , self-esteem and time orientation. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

13. Ketner, R. L., E. C. Omana and S. M. Shuster. 2002. Colonization of artificial cavities by infaunal invertebrates at Biosphere2. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

14. Ketner, R. L. , S. M. Shuster and B. Lang. 2002. The effects of cannibalism on body size in the endangered Socorro Isopod, Thermosphaeroma thermophilum (Crustacea: Isopoda). REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

15. Nagtalon, J., L. C. Drickamer and S. M. Shuster. 2002. Mate choice in the confused flour beetle, Tribolium confusum. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

16. Ramos, E., Vega, C., K. Keenan, K. Romero, V. Barton and V. Blankenship. 2002. Simplifying the coding system of achievement imagery using the multifaceted Rasch Model. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

17. Shah, P., M. Smith and C. Propper. 2002. Effects of endosulfan on adrenal function of the Bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

18. Vega, C., E. Ramos, K. Keenan, K. Romero, V. Barton and V. Blankenship. 2002. Reliability measurement of achievement imagery using the multifaceted Rasch Model. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

19. Wickman, K. and A. Gibb. Parallel evolution of jaw protrusion in Danio rerio and Betta splenens. REU Poster Session, 6 August 2002, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

b.       Presentations at Professional Meetings (REU student co-authors in bold).

1.      Stevens, L.C., Haga, Z., Queen, B., & Brady, D.B. 2001. Auditory binaural beat stimulation and hypnotic susceptibility. Presented by Zach Haga at the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting and Workshops on Clinical Hypnosis, Reno, Nevada, March 25-27, 2001.

2.      Wagner, D.M., L.C. Drickamer, and D.M. Krpata. 2002. Habitat correlates and current status of Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) in Arizona. Annual Conference of the AZ/NM Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and AZ/NM Chapters of the Wildlife Society, Safford, AZ, February, 2002.

3.      Wagner, D.M., L.C. Drickamer, D.M. Krpata, C. Allender, J. Girard, C. Keys, K.L. Smith, and P. Keim. 2002. Plague: Arizona research. Joint Meeting of the Annual Arizona Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases and the Annual Arizona Bioterrorism and Health Threats Conference, Phoenix, AZ, April 2002.

4.      Agosta, A. and S. M. Shuster. 2002. Factors influencing the colonization of artificial breeding sites by male isopods. Animal Behavior Society meeting, 12-17 July 2002, Bloomington, IN. Winner: Honorable Mention, Genesis Competition.

5.      Husband, E. M. and C. N. Slobodochikoff. 2002. Analysis of slope and concavity in the alarm calls of Gunnisons’s Prairie Dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). Animal Behavior Society meeting, 12-17 July 2002, Bloomington, IN.

6.      Ketner, R. L., S. M. Shuster and B. Lang. 2002. The effects of cannibalism on life history and body size in an endangered isopod. Animal Behavior Society meeting, 12-17 July 2002, Bloomington, IN.

c.      Published Abstracts (resulting from a Professional Presentation):

1.      Embry, S. and S. Shuster. 2000. Inheritance of two cuticular pigmentation patterns in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta Holmes (Crustacea: Isopoda). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 35: 46.

2.      Embry, S. and S. M. Shuster. 2000. The effects of mating order on female fecundity in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta Holmes (Crustacea: Isopoda). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 35: 5-6.

3.      Embry, S. J. and S. M. Shuster, 2001. The frequency of multiple insemination in a natural population of marine isopods. J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 36: 8

4.      Garcia, K., S. Embry, D. Grossblat, A. Holbrook, W. McLaren, S. Reed, H. Wildey and S. Shuster. 2000. A comparison of two methods for sampling the Gulf of California mud shrimp, Neotrypaea uncinata (Crustacea: Thallasinidea). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 35: 4.

5.      Garcia, K. E. and S. M. Shuster. 2001. The effects of juvenile environment, female reproductive condition and satellite males on breeding site selection in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta (Holmes). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 36:9.

6.      Omana, E. K. Johnson, S. Embry, J. Learned, S. Vuturo and S. Shuster. 2000. The effects of food availability on adult phenotype in Paracerceis sculpta Holmes (Crustacea: Isopoda). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 35: 6-7.

7.      Agosta, A., E. Burke, S. J. Embry, K. E. Garcia, M. Kelly, R. Ketner, S. A. Vuturo, H. C. Wildey, and S. M. Shuster.  2001. The distribution and abundance of mud shrimp in a Mexican estero. J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 36: 10

8.      Embry, S. J. and S. M. Shuster, 2001. The frequency of multiple insemination in a natural population of marine isopods. J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 36: 8

9.      Garcia, K. E. and S. M. Shuster. 2001. The effects of juvenile environment, female reproductive condition and satellite males on breeding site selection in a marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta (Holmes). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 36:9.

10. Agosta, A., H. C. Wildey, S. A. Vuturo and S. M. Shuster. 2002. The distribution of the mud shrimp, Neotrypaea uncinata, on horizontal, vertical and geographic scales with Estero Morua, Sonora, Mexico. Amer. Zool.

11. Curmi, R. M., K. M. Adkins, R. L. Ketner, K. M. Serrato, M. White, H. V. Yarborough, J. Learned and S. M. Shuster. 2002. Species diversity within tests of the barnacle, Tetraclita squamosa, at Pelican Point, Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico. J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 37:10-11.

12. Ketner, R. L. , S. M. Shuster and B. Lang. 2002. The effects of cannibalism on life history characteristics in the endangered Socorro Isopod, Thermosphaeroma thermophilum (Crustacea: Isopoda). J. Ariz. Nevad. Acad. Sci. 37:6-7.

d.      Publications:

1.      Hempleman, S.C. T.A. Rodriguez, Y. Bhagat, and R.S. Begay.  2000. Benzolamide, acetazolamide and signal transduction in avian intrapulmonary chemoreceptors.  Am. J. Physiol. (Reg. Int. Comp. Physiol.): 279:R1988-1995.

2.      Garcia, K., S. Embry, D. Grossblat, A. Holbrook, W. McLaren, S. Reed, H. Wildey and S. Shuster. A comparison of two methods for sampling the Gulf of California mud shrimp, Neotrypaea uncinata (Crustacea: Thallasinidea). J. Nat.Hist. (in press).

3.      Shuster, S. M., S. J. Embry and C. R. Hargis. The inheritance of autosomal and sex-linked cuticular pigmentation patterns in the marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta Holmes (Crustacea: Isopoda: Sphaeromatidae). J. Heredity (in press).

4.      Shuster, S. M., A. L. Tuitupou & S. Parker. Female aggregations at breeding sites in a marine isopod crustacean: copying or cueing? Anim. Behav. (in review).

5.      Garcia, K. E., A. Agosta and S. M. Shuster. The effects of juvenile environment, female reproductive contition and satellite males on breeding site selection in the marine isopod, Paracerceis sculpta (Holmes). Behav. Process. (in review).

6.      Slobodchikoff, C.N., Verdolin, J.L., Husband, E.M. Vocal Repertoire of Alarm Calls in Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). Anim. Behav. (in review).

7.      Slobodchikoff, C.N., Husband, E.M.  Analysis of Slope and Curvature in Alarm Calls of Gunnison's Prairie Dog (Cynomys gunnisoni). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. (in review).

8.      Stevens, L., Haga, Z., Queen, B., Brady, B., Adams, D., Gilbert, J., Vaughan, E., Leach, C., Nockels, P., and McManus, P. Binaural-Beat Induced Theta EEG Activity and Hypnotic Susceptibility: Contradictory Results and Technical Considerations, Amer. J. Clinic. Hypnos. (in review).

9.      Hempleman, S.C., T.P. Adamson, R.S. Begay, and I.C. Solomon.  Na+/H+ CO2 transduction is critically dependent on transmembrane Na+/H+ exchange in avian intrapulmonary chemoreceptors.  Am. J. Physiol. (in review).

Quantitative Assessment of the Program: 

1.      Participants by Ethnic Group: Among the 236 applicants to our program for 2000-02 (Table 1, C-9), White non-first generation (NFG) and White first generation (FG) college students, Native American students and Asian/Pacific Islander students all applied to our program in proportion to their national frequencies (NCES, 2001). However, African American students were under-represented and Hispanic students were over-represented among our student applicants, compared to their frequencies in the national student pool (national pool vs applicant pool: African American: 0.11 vs. 0.08, Sd = -1.67, P=0.038; Hispanic: 0.09 vs. 0.14, Sd = 2.27, P=0.012; Table 1, C-9).

Our procedures for creating the selection pool (N=91, Table 2) corrected the proportions of students within each of these groups and still left their proportions within the selection pool somewhat greater than their representation in the national pool. However, as a result of these adjustments, within the selection pool, WhiteNFG students were under-represented and WhiteFG students were over-represented compared to their proportions in the applicant pool (applicant pool vs. selection pool: WhiteNFG: 0.44 vs. 0.12, Sd=-9.35, P<0.001; WhiteFG: 0.23 vs. 0.42, Sd=3.65, P<0.001; Table 2). We considered this adjustment consistent with our program goals.

There were no significant deviations between the selection pool and the offer pool for any student group (N=44). However, consistent with our program Text Box: Table 4: Comparison of the National and Acceptance Pools: REU Program 2000-02  
(c.f., Shuster and Wade 1997)
 
 
National
Proportion
Number of
Proportion
 
 
 
 
Group
Pool*
of Nat. Pool
Acceptances
of Acc. Pool
Sd
P
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WHITE (NFG)
66706
0.47 
5
0.23 
-2.69
0.004
**
WHITE (FG)
35919
0.25 
8
0.36 
1.09
0.138
 
 
AFR AMER.
16407
0.11 
0
0.00 
<-4.99
<0.001
**
 
HISPANIC
13166
0.09 
4
0.18 
1.09
0.138
 
 
NAT.AMER.
1453
0.01 
1
0.05 
0.79
0.215
 
 
ASIAN/PI
9097
0.06 
4
0.18 
1.44
0.075
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TOTALS
142748
1.00 
22
1.00 
 
 
 
 
 
*student numbers in thousands, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.
 
goals, WhiteNFG students were again significantly under-represented within the offer pool (Sd=-4.91, P<0.001, Table 3), an adjustment that allowed us to extend offers in excess of their national proportions to all 5 groups considered under-represented among science professionals, although this excess was significant compared to the national pool only for Asian/Pacific Islander students (Sd = 1.73, P=0.042, Table 3).

Compared to the national pool, these excesses persisted within our acceptance pool with one exception. Although we extended offers to 6 African American students in 2000-02 (27% of our total positions, Table 3), none of these students accepted our offers (Table 4). Our interviews with these students indicated that these highly-qualified individuals were vigorously recruited by several REU programs at once. Other programs have simply been more attractive to African American students, evidently due to their location, research emphasis, or other available facilities (in one case, a Olympic track coach was on the host university faculty).

Despite this short term disappointment, our proportion of African American participants for 1992-2002 was not significantly different from the proportion of these students in the national pool (P=0.117, Table 5). Moreover, the proportions of Hispanic, Native American and Asian/Pacific Islander students during 1992-2002 were at or significantly above their national proportions (national pool vs. acceptance pool: Hispanic: 0.09 vs. 0.30, Sd=4.64, P<0.001; Native American: 0.01 vs. 0.19, Sd=4.84, P<0.001; Asian/Pacific Islander: 0.06 vs. 0.10, Sd=1.31, P=0.095; Table 5). Perhaps because we have recognized this group as under-represented only in the last three years, for 1992-2002, White(FG) students were significantly below their proportions in the national pool [national pool vs. acceptance pool: White(FG): 0.25 vs. 0.19, Sd=-1.78, P=0.038; Table 5]. However, consistent with our overall program goals, compared to student groups who are under-represented among science professionals, White(NFG) were significantly under-represented among our REU participants, both in 2000-02 [national pool vs. acceptance pool: White(NFG): 0.47 vs. 0.23, Sd=-2.69, P=0.004; Table 4] as well as over the last 10 years. [national pool vs. acceptance pool: White(NFG): 0.47 vs. 0.14, Sd=-9.87, P<<0.001; Table 5]. 

2.     Men and Women Participants: Among our 236 applicants for 2000-02, men were significantly under-represented, and women were significantly over-represented, compared to their proportions in the national student pool (national pool vs. applicant pool: Men: 0.44 vs. 0.33, Sd=-3.43, P<0.001; Women: 0.54 vs. 0.67, Sd=3.43, P<0.001; Table 6). We have no explanation for the disproportionate number of female applicants, although our program’s stated support for under-represented minorities in science may have deterred some male applicants. Consistent with our program goal to increase the proportion of women among future scientists, we accentuated this initial bias in our selection pool (Table 7). Thus, compared to our applicant pool, men were significantly under-represented and women were significantly over-represented in our selection pool (applicant pool vs. selection pool: Men: 0.33 vs. 0.25, Sd=-1.80, P=0.036; Women: 0.67 vs. 0.75, Sd=1.80, P=0.036;Table 7).

 

We maintained these proportions in our offer pool, and consistent with our program goals, offered positions to women significantly in excess of their proportion in the national student pool (national pool vs. selection pool: Women: 0.56 vs. 0.73, Sd=2.49, P=0.006). However, because over half of our female applicants declined our offers, our proportions of male and female REU participants for 2000-02 (N=22) were not significantly different from the national proportions of men and women students (national pool vs. acceptance pool: Men: 0.44 vs. 0.50, Sd=0.56, P=0.255; Women: 0.56 vs. 0.50, Sd=-0.56, P=0.255; Table 8). Similarly, although we have actively recruited women applicants since this program’s inception, and we have succeeded in training more women than men (0.59 vs. 0.41, G=3.75, P=.06), our proportions of males and females for 1992-2002 were not significantly different, either from 50:50 or from the proportion of women in the national student pool (national pool vs. acceptance pool: Men: 0.44 vs. 0.41, Sd=-0.69, P=0.161; Women: 0.56 vs. 0.59, Sd=0.69, P=0.161).

3.     Pre- and Post-Program Testing: Since 1996 we have performed pre- and post-program test evaluations of REU participants to assess our  possible influence on participant self-esteem, learning styles, attitudes toward work and family, as well as science-related, and student-related attitudes. We found a high degree of consistency in student responses among the majority of these tests, suggesting that students retained most of their attitudes throughout our program. Among the 23 comparisons, we found only three significant pre- and post-test differences. However, we consider these particular differences noteworthy. We believe they underscore our program’s success to date in helping students to complete their research projects, complete their undergraduate degrees, and continue their education toward careers in science.

First, we found that students’ sense of academic competitiveness increased from the beginning to the end of the summer program (t[df=60]=-2.081, P=0.042). Competitiveness was reflected by the endorsement of items that reflect the desire to do better than others and to try harder when competing with others. Second, students math anxiety decreased from the beginning to the end of the summer program (t[df=27]= .46, P=0.002). Students became more confident of their abilities to represent data symbolically and more comfortable with interpreting statistical relationships. Third, students increased the extent to which they viewed scientists as “normal” (t[df=57]=-2.15, P=0.036). Students’ view of scientists as more normal, included the recognition that scientists are about as fit and healthy as other people, that they like sports, art, and music as much as others, that they are as friendly as other people, and that scientists can have a normal family life. This change in seeing scientists as “normal people” dispels stereotypes of scientists as “freaks” who are one-dimensional in their career trajectories.

We consider such attitude shifts fundamental for students to see a scientific career as attractive. Thus, we believe we have had a significant influence on our students success in completing research projects, continuing their education and continuing on to careers as professional scientists.