Johns Hopkins University plans to invest $5 million to support the creation of summer and post-baccalaureate "pathway" programs that attract and prepare students from backgrounds underrepresented in academia to pursue PhDs in non-STEM fields.
The university will select between three and five program proposals to receive seed grant funding of up to $1.2 million over five years. The programs—which may be coupled with the awarding of a master's degree or may be standalone training or research experiences—will help bolster the national pool of qualified, competitive students for doctoral programs. Proposals are due at the end of May.
"Our goal is to establish innovative, well-mentored, and sustainable pathways programs in non-STEM fields to contribute to the excellence and the diversity of JHU's PhD programs," says Nancy Kass, vice provost for graduate and professional education at Johns Hopkins and a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The creation of the Hopkins Pathways to PhD Programs Initiative is one of 24 goals articulated in The Second JHU Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as the university aims to attract more scholars from diverse backgrounds and bolster supports for them. It is modeled after the pathway programs component of the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative, a $150 million initiative launched by Johns Hopkins in 2021 and backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies that aims to address historic underrepresentation in STEM by providing resources and funding to diverse PhD students.
Both efforts are designed to identify highly motivated, curious, and creative students and to entice them to continue their education at the graduate or PhD level. There has not previously been centralized support for programs providing pathways to non-STEM PhD fields at Johns Hopkins, a gap that will now be filled by the Hopkins Pathways to PhD Programs Initiative.
Proposed summer or post-baccalaureate pathway programs must provide students with opportunities to participate in supervised research, field work, or scholarship culminating in some form of mentored capstone, presentation, or thesis. The programs must include opportunities for student mentorship and networking or community-building, and they must allow for students to interact with PhD program faculty, including those on PhD admissions committees. These requirements help demystify the PhD experience for students and provide them essential skills in navigating the graduate school admissions process.
Funds from the Hopkins Pathways to PhD Programs Initiative will also provide students with a standard stipend of $575 per week for summer students and the minimum NIH stipend for post-bac students (currently $32,950/year), as well as provide for housing, health insurance, travel, and other costs.
Proposals for pathway programs must be submitted to the provost's office by May 31; funding decisions will be made this summer. A Zoom Q+A session will be scheduled for April 5 from noon to 1 p.m.; further details will be announced on the Hub.