University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM)

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In 2015, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a major grant to create a “University Center of Exemplary Mentoring” (UCEM) at MIT. This Sloan grant enables the center to focus on the recruitment, retention, and academic success of underrepresented minority doctoral students in four departments in the School of Engineering: Biological EngineeringChemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,  and Mechanical Engineering. The grant was renewed for academic years 2018-2020.

The MIT UCEM carries out strategic and customized recruitment strategies tailored to the four participating departments, as well as a structured program that addresses key barriers to retention and educational success consisting of academic support, mentoring, and personal and professional development opportunities.

Under the terms of the grant, we have four student cohorts: 12 students began in academic year 2015-16, 11 began in 2016-17, 12 began in 2017-18, and 12 will begin in 2018-19). This grant, administered by Leslie Kolodziejski, Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and  the UCEM Program Coordinator in the Office of Graduate Education (OGE), supports underrepresented doctoral students in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

Supporting the goals of UCEM, a team of faculty from the four participating departments serve as its coordinating committee: Leslie Kolodziejski, principal investigator; Rohan Abeyaratne, professor and graduate officer of mechanical engineering; Kristala Prather, professor of chemical engineering; and Mark Bathe, professor and graduate officer of biological engineering — as well as the OGE UCEM Program Coorinator. In addition, the team leverages Institute-wide efforts focused on community, equity, inclusion, and diversity through the Institute Community and Equity Office, as well as through Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education Blanche Staton.

MIT UCEM Sloan Scholarship Benefits

The scholarship provides full tuition, stipend, and single student health insurance funding through either a research assistantship or teaching assistantship guaranteed by the student’s department for five years; it also supplies a stipend supplement of $8,000 a year for up to five years, which can be used to pay for professional travel, research, equipment, books, and to cover other needs during the course of study.

In addition, this scholarship presents unique opportunities to:

  • Receive additional mentoring by the MIT UCEM Coordinating Committee comprised of faculty and staff both within and outside your department. Each student has a faculty advisor.
  • Receive additional academic, career, and professional development experiences and training developed by the MIT UCEM Coordinating Committee. Topics in 2016-17 included “Creating Your Network: The Role of Mentors and Advisors,” “Hack Your Mind: Smart Phone Liberation!”, and discussions on student activism and health and wellness.
  • Join a cohort of like-minded graduate students – “the Scholars’ Circle,” which provides a space to connect, share, support and celebrate through informal discussion and frequent gatherings.
  • Attend the annual, by invitation-only, Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the largest gathering of minority Ph.D. scholars in the country. Here scholars can further develop a personal network, deepen understanding of career opportunities in academia, and engage with other scholars from across the country. The Institute’s goal is to promote the continued importance of faculty diversity in the nation’s universities.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority PhD Program

The goal of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority PhD Program is to diversify the U.S. Ph.D. degree-holding workforce through the support of university-based efforts to improve the recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented minority doctoral students in STEM fields.

More information can be found on their website here.

Application Process

MIT UCEM departments nominate incoming and current graduate students for the scholarship.

Questions about the MIT UCEM may be directed to