The LSU-HHMI Professors Program was created by Vice President Isiah M. Warner, who was selected by HHMI to receive a $1 million grant. Having dedicated decades to mentoring and preparing students, Professor Warner initiated this program, aimed at providing intervention and comprehensive support for undergraduates who demonstrated great promise as high school students, but faced challenges as incoming first-year students. The program has realized tremendous success including increased retention, notable academic improvement, and matriculation into graduate programs. The LSU-HHMI Professors Program employs and hierarchical mentoring approach in supporting student achievement.
Hierarchical Mentoring Model
Our model addresses the key factors that impact STEM attrition, particularly for underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Based on the premise that academic turnarounds are possible for motivated students, the HHMI Professors Program provides the necessary support structures to offer students ways to engage them in new experiences that could lead to a transition to academic excellence. These students, typically sophomores and juniors in the undergraduate GPA range of 2.5 and 3.25, are often overlooked as potential scientists who benefit from academic interventions and systematic mentoring. When these students do advance, they have the power to mentor and inspire other students who have not consistently performed at high levels to reach their goals.