The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) aims to strengthen the undergraduate curricula, research, student recruitment and retention, and faculty development activities in Agriculture, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (A-STEM).

Virginia State University (VSU) Implementation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is a comprehensive educational project that is based on the foundation that was established during the first HBCU-UP grant. During the first HBCU UP grant (2005-2010), VSU has increased its investment in STEM infrastructure. This included establishing of new Masters and PhD programs in STEM areas, renovating and constructing brand-new STEM facilities, increasing number of scholarships and faculty. The first HBCU-UP grant initiated activities that complemented University’s efforts in strengthening its STEM foundation. The T-STEM II grant (2010-2015) objectives are closely correlated with the VSU strategic goals and the lessons learnt from the first Implantation Project.

The VSU’s T-STEM II program goals are:

  1. Improve undergraduate research STEM infrastructure
  2. Increase number of students joining a graduate program in STEM within one year of their graduation
  3. Increase the enrollment of African American male students in STEM disciplines. 

The activities that support these objectives includes:

  1. Establishment of an Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) to strengthen further undergraduate research foundation. Creation of an Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program (URMP) will train our graduates to become life-long learners and skilled communicators
  2. Offer Summer Research Institute to improve our students’ ability and enthusiasm in conducting in-depth scientific research. Graduate School Visitation will enhance students’ knowledge on graduate offerings. GRE Prep will prepare our graduates for admission to graduate programs
  3. Offer Pre-college Summer Institute for high school students.

Broader Impact- The contributions of this T-STEM II program to the areas that are defined by the NSF will be as follows:

Advance Discovery and Understanding While Promoting Teaching, Training, and Learning

  1. Integrates research into undergraduate level.
  2. Mentor undergraduate students
  3. Tracking students’ progress after graduation
  4. Encourages student[s] to participate in research and professional conferences.

Broaden Participation of Underrepresented Groups 

  1. Establishes research and education in STEM program for African Americans in general and male students in particular
  2. Includes participation of African American students in research and education activities
  3. Establishes research and education collaborations with students from other HBCUs

Enhance Infrastructure for Research and Education

  1. Partners with other institutions, government agencies and industry to provide internships to VSU students
  2. Involves government agencies and industry in pre-college education
  3. Presents T-STEM program in the VSU STEM departments’ website
  4. Publishes the program in the VSU HBCU-UP website for the general public
  5. Reports the outcomes of the activities to the NSF
  6. Participates in workshops and conferences
  7. Integrate research with education activities.

The HBCU UP program has offered on and off campus internship to A-STEM students. It has increased students awareness for doing research and has increased students participation in research. All HBCU UP activities are coordinated under the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). The activities are interdisciplinary involving all STEM departments at VSU.