Frequently Asked Questions

LS-PAC MODELS

LS-PAC MODELS Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is LS-PAC MODELS?

LS-PAC MODELS is the Louis Stokes Center for the Promotion of Academic Careers Through Motivational Opportunities to Develop Emerging Leaders in STEM. We are a Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence (LSRCE) aimed at increasing degreed minority students entering the STEM workforce.  We are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

What is the objective of the LS-PAC MODELS Center?

Our objective is to serve as a national model for increasing the number of underrepresented minorities entering into academic STEM careers.  We are focused on four major activities:

i.   We provide comprehensive mentorship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows and early-career faculty. 

ii.     We offer professional development opportunities including webinars, workshops, and an annual conference that are geared toward developing academic and career success, as well as providing networking opportunities.

iii.     We connect individuals and higher education institutions through our networks.  Although higher education institutions throughout the U.S. are doing great work to increase diversity in STEM, these efforts often exist in silos and are cut off from one another.  We believe that institutions can learn from one another’s successes.  To connect efforts and facilitate collaboration, we are creating a national network of higher education institutions, students, and mentors who can learn from and share with one another. 

iv.     We are studying factors that lead to academic and career success for underrepresented students in STEM.  Specifically, we’re collecting data to evaluate how mentoring relationships and social networks influence retention, graduation, and career advancement. 

What does the LS-PAC MODELS Center have to offer underrepresented minority STEM scholars?

Our center provides: 1) Opportunities for STEM scholars to have authentic mentoring relationships with STEM professionals and 2) professional development opportunities for STEM scholars to aid in academic and career readiness. In addition, we host an annual conference that allows students to present their research in a supportive environment, network with professionals and fellow students, and attend engaging sessions that foster academic and career skills. 

How can we become a partnering institution?

If you are a higher education institution with a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, we’d love to talk with you about partnering with our center.  Please fill out our partner interest form here or email info@lspacmodels.org for more information on partnering with us. 

Does our institution need to have an LSAMP program in order to partner with the LS-PAC MODELS Center?

Yes. Currently, we are only partnering with institutions who have LSAMP programs.  However, this may change in the future.  If you are a non-LSAMP institution who is interested in partnering with us, please email info@lspacmodels.org to inquire about options for future partnership. 

What is required of LSAMP coordinators/directors who partner with the LS-PAC MODELS Center? 

  • Forward our emails to potential mentors and scholars
  • Encourage students to attend online professional development workshops and the LS-PAC MODELS annual conference
  • Complete online survey (once per semester)

Who can be an LS-PAC MODELS Scholar?

  • Undergraduate students who are enrolled in an LSAMP program
  • Graduate students who are enrolled in a Louis Stokes Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) program
  • Post-doctoral fellows at any institution
  • Early-career academic faculty (defined as having 4 or fewer years experience in a facu lty position) at any institution

Why is it important to increase diversity in academia? 

One of the most concerning statistics regarding underrepresented minorities in STEM is that despite comprising 31% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010), only 8.9% of STEM academic faculty are minorities (NSF NCES, 2019).  Further, individuals from minority backgrounds make up only 3.9% of biology and chemistry faculty at top 40 universities in the U.S. (Li & Koedel, 2017).  Due to the lack of minority faculty, students from minority backgrounds are at a distinct disadvantage, as they do not have comparable access to similar role models, mentors, and informal networks that are critical to academic success and career advancement. 

Further, studies show that diverse teams solve problems more effectively.  A study of over 500 decisions made by 184 different organizational teams in a wide variety of companies showed that decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results (i.e. leaders were more likely to change their minds based on the input of the team; Larson, 2016).  In addition, the available evidence suggests that diversity isn’t just more effective, it’s also more lucrative.  A study by global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company showed that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 30 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians (Hunt, Layton, & Prince, 2015). 

For Scholars

What is the LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program?

The LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program is designed to support underrepresented STEM scholars (undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-career academic faculty) who are interested in pursuing careers in academia by matching them with one or more mentors. 

How much does LS-PAC MODELS cost?

Nothing! Participation in the LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program is absolutely free for all student participants.

What are the benefits of participating in the LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program?

There are lots of benefits! You will receive one-on-one mentorship and guidance from leaders in STEM who want to see you succeed and achieve your goals. You will also have access to top notch professional development workshops aimed at enhancing your academic success.

How do I sign up for the mentoring program so that I can be assigned to a mentor?

We would love to speak with you about joining our program. Please fill out the Scholar Interest Form to answer some questions that will help us determine the best mentor to match you with.  You can also email us at info@lspacmodels.org for more information about joining.  Our staff will contact you with some follow-up questions to determine how we can best meet your needs. 

Do I have to be a member of a LSAMP program to participate as a scholar?

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student, you must be enrolled in an LSAMP or Bridge to the Doctorate program to participate.  If you are a post-doctoral fellow or early-career academic faculty, then you can be enrolled at any higher education institution, regardless of whether that institution has an LSAMP program.  Please complete our Scholar Interest Form so we can connect you with our Center or reach out to us at info@lspacmodels.org if you have questions.   

How often will I be expected to interact with my mentor(s)?

You and your mentor(s) will work together to determine what works best for the both of you. There are no strict requirements!

What can my mentor(s) help me with?

Everything! You will be matched with STEM leaders who will be able to assist you with nearly all aspects of college and graduate school.

Will I get to meet my mentor or other LS-PAC scholars in person?

Each year you will have the opportunity to attend the annual LS-PAC MODELS conference where you will interact with other students and your mentor(s).  In addition, you and your mentor can decide together if there are any other opportunities where it would make sense for you to meet. 

Who can participate in the LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program?

Our program is designed to support underrepresented STEM scholars who are interested in pursuing careers in academia.  We provide mentoring and professional development opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early-career faculty members. 

How time consuming is participating in this program?

Participation in this program involves meeting with your mentor(s) periodically throughout the semester and attending one or two professional development workshops. We also encourage all participants to attend our annual summer conference.  You will also be asked to complete a survey once per semester. Our intent is that this program is a wonderful experience for you!

Can I serve as a mentor to other scholars?

Yes!  If you are interested in being a peer mentor, please fill out our Mentor Interest Form and our staff will contact you with more information. 

What kind of professional development opportunities does the LS-PAC MODELS Center offer?

Check our calendar page for information about upcoming webinars workshops, and other opportunities that provide academic and career development.  We often host workshops related to scientific writing skills, research presentation skills, networking skills, and career planning. 

For Mentors

How can I become a mentor for the LS-PAC MODELS Center?

Please fill out our Mentor Interest Form. We will be in touch shortly.

What is the expected time commitment?

Each mentee is unique in their needs, interests, and career path.  Therefore, each mentor-mentee relationship may require a different degree of attention and time commitment.  Our center strives to allow mentors and mentees to be flexible in their relationship, but to abide by mutually agreed upon goals and time commitments that are established during the first mentor-mentee meeting.  We also allow mentors to specify the number of mentees they are able to take on and the maximum amount of time they can devote to each mentee.  Thus, while each mentor-mentee relationship is different, we estimate that each mentor-mentee relationship will require a time commitment of 2-4 hours per month. 

What are the requirements to be a mentor?

The LS-PAC MODELS Mentoring Program features two types of mentors:

i.     Professional mentors: Professional mentors can be either STEM university faculty/staff or STEM professionals employed in government or industry.  Professional mentors can mentor scholars at any level (undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, early-career faculty). 

ii.     Peer mentors: Peer mentors can be:

  • Students currently completing a post-doctoral fellowship in a STEM-related field (can only mentor Ph.D. students and below). 
  • Students currently completing a STEM-related Master’s or doctoral degree (can only mentor undergraduate students and below)
  • Undergraduates in their senior year of a STEM degree (can only mentor undergraduates in earlier years). 
  • How many mentees will I be required to have?

    We recommend each mentor work with 2-3 mentees, however, the number of students you are able to work with is completely up to you!

Do you provide training or guidance in how to work with students from diverse backgrounds?

Absolutely! We require all mentors to attend a mandatory mentor orientation prior to beginning a mentoring relationship with their mentee(s).  In addition, we offer other optional professional development opportunities for mentors.  Information about these events will be listed on our website as well as sent out to our mailing lists.