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Dr. Samuel Merriweather, associate director of the Texas A&M University System Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, speaks to a crowded house in the John R. Blocker Building.

COLLEGE STATION --

Roughly two dozen undergraduate students from universities across the nation recently spent a few days at Texas A&M University as participants in the inaugural Aggie Science Graduate Discovery Days.

Twenty-two potential members of Texas A&M's fall 2017 graduate student body visited the campus August 3-5 as guests of the Texas A&M College of Science. The informal event, intended to increase underrepresented minority graduate student enrollment, was funded through the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) Innovative Recruiting Program.

Dr. Mark J. Zoran, associate dean for graduate programs in the College of Science, first contacted Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program advisors at undergraduate institutions across the country to identify underrepresented minority STEM majors with strong interest in pursuing graduate studies. He then worked with faculty, staff and administrators across the campus and broader Bryan-College Station community to craft a slate of activities designed to help these potential graduate students learn more about Texas A&M, from its traditions and history, to its Ph.D. programs and groundbreaking research.

"These students got to interact with our graduate students and faculty members," Zoran said. "They also got to tour our campus and the surrounding community, including departments and research facilities. Still, the main goal of this informal event was for our guests to experience graduate life at Texas A&M and in Aggieland."

The students -- 10 chemistry majors, 10 biology majors, and one major apiece in physics and mathematics -- flew into Easterwood Airport on Wednesday (Aug. 3), where they were met by Texas A&M Science staff and transported to Koppe Bridge for an informal opening dinner with past and present members of the Texas A&M University System LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate (BTD) cohorts. Thursday (Aug. 4) consisted of informational meetings, and tours featuring university and college administrators and key faculty from Texas A&M Science departments, based on students' backgrounds and specifics research interests. The students then enjoyed a concluding dinner at Café Eccell before departing from Easterwood on Friday (Aug. 5).

"Twenty-two potential graduate students got an invaluable opportunity to learn about our university and general student life in College Station, Texas," Zoran said. "At the same time, we got an invaluable opportunity to introduce them to our Ph.D. programs and current research being conducted by our faculty who are excelling in the very careers they want to pursue."

A similar event hosted by graduate students of the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience was held Aug. 15-17 at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. This event involved students from the University of Texas at El Paso and was also funded by an OGAPS innovative recruiting grant. Zoran, who notes these kinds of activities are important for establishing recruiting contacts with other institutions, says the Department of Chemistry and other units across campus will be hosting their own informal visitation events this fall.

To learn more about graduate programs in Texas A&M Science, go to http://www.science.tamu.edu/for-graduates.php.

For additional information about graduate study at Texas A&M, visit the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies at http://ogaps.tamu.edu.

See additional photos from the event within the Texas A&M Science Flickr archive.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Mark J. Zoran, (979) 845-7361 or zoran@bio.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Mark J. Zoran

  • Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies, explaining the ins and outs of graduate student life at Texas A&M.

  • The Aggie Science Graduate Discovery Days group, in between campus tours en route to the Department of Chemistry.

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