had over 70 students majoring in chemistry, which was a large number at Hampton University, thanks to that program. I think we need more interaction between the HBCUs and other minority institutions and the research institutions. The familiarity among faculty members would do a lot in helping students’ transition from undergraduate institutions to Ph.D. institutions. I would also like to mention a program that we started several years ago with Virginia Tech, through which we sent five students who completed a master’s degree program at Hampton to Virginia Tech for their Ph.D.s. These kinds of interventions, I think, are very effective.
Cornelia D. Gillyard: Spelman students who go away to graduate schools or other majority institutions with a different culture have experienced a similar culture shock. If you would allow me, I would like to relate the experiences our students initially had with the dual-degree program.
Most of our students in the dual-degree program matriculate at Georgia Tech. They would leave Spelman with very high GPAs—3.8, 3.9, 4.0. They would go to Georgia Tech and suffer tremendously. It was a different culture. Initially, I do not think—this is not to offend anybody—that the faculty there took the students seriously, because it was an arranged program. They did not initially consider them to be as talented as the students at Georgia Tech. What have we found, as more and more students went to Georgia Tech and were successful, through those early years, is that now our students leave Spelman and go to Georgia Tech and earn higher GPAs. We now have students that go to Georgia Tech and matriculate and earn 4.0 GPAs in the engineering field; and I do not know if Georgia Tech would admit it, but our students are certainly performing as well as, if not better than, some of their students who were not in dual-degree programs, but had matriculated there during all of their undergraduate career.
One success story is one of my research students, who was very talented. She worked in the laboratory like a graduate student and was intuitively inquisitive. She went to Georgia Tech and earned a 4.0. They recruited her as a presidential scholar. She is in their graduate program, passed her exams the first quarter she was in the graduate program, and is well into the experimentation.
We have to do something. We found that we will get a call or an email from students who go to graduate school and experience that shock. Of course, we talk through it, work through it, and I tell them give it another month.
Usually the first month is the critical month. We get the calls. Once we work through that and they get through that first semester or quarter, then they hang on and continue in the program. Nevertheless, the transition to a graduate school or majority institution is difficult.