Statistical analysis plays a significant role across the sciences and is arguably the most salient point of intersection among diverse disciplines; scientists constantly communicate information on varied topics through the common language of statistics. Application of statistical knowledge is broad, the field is advancing, and there is increased demand for rigor. It is important that underrepresented students, who may be initially less likely to pursue degrees in quantitative fields, not get left behind in the pursuit of advanced training in statistics and the data sciences. The aim of this project is to address this critical need by providing 24 underrepresented female students with statistical training in an exemplary summer program.
Specifically, approximately 8 rising female sophomore students from underrepresented groups will be invited to Spelman College for an 8-week summer program (the summer 2021 program will be virtual). During the summer program, INSPIRE U2 participants will be exposed to statistical programs and analytical techniques, including modern techniques not commonly included in the undergraduate curriculum, such as moderated mediation. During the summer program, students will be trained on how to ask and answer these types of questions. It is expected that this initiative will: 1) increase student interest in advanced degree programs; 2) provide support and mentorship to students; and 3) serve as a pipeline for entry into advanced degree programs. Each student will have the opportunity to conduct an independent research project, and in doing so, students will develop the skills, confidence, and inspiration to pursue advanced statistics opportunities within the sciences. Key innovations include: 1) the merging of two evidence-based training approaches; 2) training in the flexible application of knowledge; 3) analysis of data in real world contexts; and 4) intensive one-on-one mentoring and support.