Hampton University
Chair of the Hampton University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Dr. Oluwatoyin Ajibola Asojo, Awarded $1,125,000 NIH Grant to Increase Diversity in Biomedical Careers
11/19/2020 - #84

HAMPTON, Va. (November 19, 2020) –  Dr. Oluwatoyin Ajibola Asojo, Chair of the Hampton University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, has received a Diversity Program Consortium (DPC) Dissemination and Translation Award of $1,125,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to deploy and test evidence-based interventions to increase diversity in biomedical careers. As there is an urgent need to increase the diversity of the biomedical workforce, this project will use the interventions to improve student competency in gatekeeper chemistry courses at Hampton University.

“Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, our faculty have stepped up and doubled their efforts in securing funding to make sure that Hampton University excels above the rest. Congratulations to Dr. Oluwatoyin Asojo for her determination to secure this grant that aims to help increase the diversity of the biomedical workforce,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

The project is titled “HU-ChEM: Deploying Evidence-Based Interventions in Chemistry at Hampton University to Plug Leaks in the Biomedical Training Pipeline.” For this project, Hampton University will receive award amount of $375,000 for three years for a total of $1,125,000. Dr. Asojo will deploy an education and mentorship program to increase the persistence of underrepresented minority students in biomedical careers.

“I am excited to deploy the Hampton University Chemistry Education and Mentorship (HU-ChEM) intervention program. There are three components of HU-ChEM: 1) HU-ChEM SCALE-UP where we teach an entry-level freshman chemistry course for STEM majors using the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP). 2) HU-ChEM CUREs; a pre-college Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) and 3) HU-ChEM faculty development, offers enhanced chemistry faculty training,” Dr. Asojo said.

Over the course of the 3-year study, those involved in the project will use DPC survey tools to measure and monitor hallmarks of student, faculty and institutional success. They will collect both quantitative and qualitative data, and use robust statistical analysis to measure the effects of HU-ChEM interventions on participants compared to matched controls in the short-, medium- and long-terms.  

“I am looking forward to implementing these evidence-based methods to improve learner outcomes in chemistry while conducting rigorous STEM educational research. I am also excited to work with the NIGMS, University of Texas El Paso, and our internal team, including Co-Investigators: Drs. Peter Njoki, Francis Erebholo, Rikesha L. Fry Brown, Luisel Ricks-Santi, and Michelle Penn-Marshall; and Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty,” said Dr. Asojo.  “In addition to improving student success in a first-year level gatekeeper chemistry course, we will generate much-needed outcomes data to inform on best practices in trainee, faculty, and institutional success.”

"It is an honor to serve alongside these talented, distinguished, and diverse group of scientists as we seek to plug leaks on the biomedical training pipeline at Hampton University by deploying evidence-based intervention in Chemistry,” said Dr. Francis Erebholo, Assistant Professor for the Hampton University Department of Mathematics. “This is a great opportunity for undergraduate mathematics students in the biomedical track to gain exposure to authentic research experience and mentorship from seasoned faculty in the department of Chemistry."

Analysis of the data generated from HU-ChEM will reveal cost-effective ways of deploying intervention programs to plug the leaky biomedical training pipeline.

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