The Puerto Rico Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PR-LSAMP), is a collaborative between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) system and two private universities – Ana G. Méndez University System (AGM) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (PCUPR). Created in 1991, PR-LSAMP aims at increasing the number of students who successfully complete a baccalaureate degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and pursue and complete a graduate degree in a STEM-related field. During the first four Phases of PR-LSAMP (1991 to 2011), undergraduate STEM enrollment at participating institutions increased from 12,572 to 28,112 in 2011. During this same period of time, institutions awarded 42,073 BS degrees, and the annual degree production increased from 1,709 in 1991 to 2,764 in 2011, placing PR-LSAMP institutions as the Nation’s leading producer of Hispanic STEM BS degree recipients. This accomplishment was stimulated by a two-prong approach: (1) increasing enrollment in STEM disciplines, and (2) improving retention and graduation rates by implementing a series of strategies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of STEM programs.
Bridge to the Doctorate
The Bridge-to-the-Doctorate Program, an initiative within the LSAMP Program, began in August of 2003, with ten former undergraduate PR-LSAMP students being awarded fellowships for their first two years of graduate studies at UPR-Rio Piedras. Since then, 118 additional fellowships have been awarded.
Each Fellow receives a $30,000 fellowship per year, for their first two years of graduate studies. The BD Program also covers the Fellows’ tuition and institutional fees; the health plan, and provides funds for travel and educational materials.
All Fellows must serve as mentors to an undergraduate PR-LSAMP student, and must visit at least one high school each year to serve as role models to high school students, and share with them their academic experiences and career plans. Former Fellows now serve as resources in PR-LSAMP workshops, fieldtrips and science and engineering curricular activities.