The Increasing Statistical Preparation in Research Education for Underrepresented Undergraduates (INSPIRE U2) Program is a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates site ((NSF Award #1852056) that aims to provide a learning pathway that will set underrepresented female students on a track towards graduate studies and careers in statistical and data fields. Over the course of the summer, INSPIRE U2 Scholars (majors ranging from biology to journalism) participated in a series of activities including professional development sessions, weekly mindfulness sessions, and a Statistics Bootcamp using RStudio (taught by the Program Director, Dr. A. Nayena Blankson). INSPIRE U2 Scholars also worked on an independent research project using freely available Big Data sets. They developed their own research question, conducted data analyses to answer those research questions, and presented their research in a culminating Summer Research Symposium. Scholars were mentored by faculty (Senior Mentors), and through partnership with RStudio, PBC, Scholars also received mentorship from an RStudio staff member.
There were 11 INSPIRE U2 Scholars for the summer 2021 program, eight of whom were rising sophomores. Majors were biology (n=3), psychology, political science (n=2), business administration, mathematics, elementary education, government & statistics, and journalism. The Summer 2021 INSPIRE U2 Scholars were Samantha Armijo, Angel Bryant, Nymeer Caston, Najalynn Chandler, Kadence Gary, Brooke Jones, Ariel Meriwether, Nia Naylor, Cydney Offord, Adana Rivera, and Michel Ruiz-Fuentes.
Aside from Dr. Blankson, five faculty served as Senior Mentors: Dr. Alexandria Hadd, Dr. Lisa Dierker, Dr. Bhikhari Tharu, Dr. Lisa Harlow, and Dr. Mentewab Ayalew.
Additionally, R Studio, PBC partnered with the program to provide R Studio Mentors for all scholars. The R Studio mentors were Edgar Ruiz, Jeff Allen, Mara Averick, Mine Çetinkaya-Runde, Curtis Kephart, and Jesse Mostipak.
Finally, one student, Kathleen Bostick, served as a Junior Mentor. The Junior Mentor, a rising junior biology major, attended all Bootcamp and professional development sessions and served as a source of support for her peers.
A recording from the summer 2021 INSPIRE U2 Research Symposium can be found here.