Since its founding in 1886, Winthrop University's central role in South Carolina has been to provide college educational opportunities for students from diverse and disadvantaged groups. Winthrop University's approved mission statement clearly states that "Winthrop prides itself on being an institution of choice for groups traditionally under-represented on the college campus."
A large fraction of Winthrop students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Nearly half (49%) of a recent incoming freshmen cohort were first generation, low income, or under-represented students.
Establishment of the Winthrop Eagle STEM Scholars Initiative
Because of its large and diverse population of students, Winthrop is uniquely poised to significantly increase the number of minority undergraduates in South Carolina who matriculate into PhD biomedical science programs. It is now time to take the next step in moving Winthrop over the next two decades toward national leadership for matriculating students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups into science PhD programs. In keeping with compelling student needs, with Winthrop's mission, and with INBRE I successes; Winthrop President Anthony J. DiGiorgio approved the INBRE II implementation of a diversity initiative to effectively matriculate more students from diverse groups into biomedical science PhD programs.
During the 2011-2015 period, Winthrop will develop and implement the Winthrop Eagle STEM initiative by emulating two decades of proven practices from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Meyerhoff Scholars Program. This represents the central direction of Winthrop's science programs over the next several decades. It couples Winthrop's historic tradition of providing educational opportunities to groups under-represented on college campuses with its central drive for national excellence in undergraduate education via student engagement in undergraduate research.
The Eagle STEM Scholars Program being implemented is a student-centered, four-phase approach:
- Recruitment of greater numbers of motivated and well-prepared high school science students
- Facilitated transition of students through the first two years of college
- Student long-term engagement (two academic years and two summers) in undergraduate biomedical science research
- Facilitated transition of students to graduate school.