Purdue program for underrepresented students sets record

Emerging Leaders Science Scholars nearly doubles enrollment goal for online and in-person students
By: | September 14, 2020
Emerging Leaders Science Scholars students at Purdue University participate in an orientation session. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)Emerging Leaders Science Scholars students at Purdue University participate in an orientation session. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

A new Purdue University science program for high achievers from historically underserved populations has soared past enrollment expectations this fall.

Some 88 students are participating in-person and online in the College of Science’s Emerging Leaders Science Scholars program, which features financial support for studying abroad, internships, summer courses and faculty mentoring.

The students are majoring in programs such data science and computer science; the mathematical and actuarial sciences; biology; chemistry; physics and astronomy; and earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences.

“Over half of the inaugural class is female, a quarter are first-generation college students, and over one-third hail from Indiana,” Purdue University said in a news release.


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“For Purdue to live its land-grant mission, we need to engage and serve and provide access to a student population of various backgrounds,” Kristina Wong Davis, vice provost for enrollment management, said.

Purdue’s initial enrollment goal 50 students for the program, which is part of a campuswide Emerging Leaders scholarship program.

A hallmark of the program is frequent interaction between faculty and students.

“We were losing high-achieving students because we didn’t have funding to bring them to Purdue,” said Henry Williams, director of Emerging Leaders programs and a clinical assistant professor in Krannert School of Management.

“We are preparing them to be scholars,” Williams added. “We’re not just going to offer scholarships to the students. We’re going to make sure they have a road to success.”


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