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A History of Open Doors

Knox has a strong commitment to provide educational opportunities to all students regardless of sex, ethnicity, or economics, especially in the sciences. Part of the College's success is due to the grant support from foundations such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Henry Luce Foundation, both of which encourage women to enter the sciences. But these are not the first grant-funded programs that have worked to encourage underrepresented students to enter scientific fields. Below are a few programs -- both past and present -- that have worked to open doors for science students.

ACM Minority Scholars in Academic Careers -- this program, which ran from 1987-2007, was specifically formulated to encourage minority students to consider academic careers. Summer research fellowships were coordinated through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) office, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Educational Development Program (EDP) -- federally funded since 1974, EDP's purpose is to assist first-generation and low-income college students in persisting and graduating from college. Students in the program design a personalized participation plan that is tailored to individual academic goals and skill levels. Writing professionals and academic planning counselors work with each student. A math/science learning laboratory is provided specifically for students interested in the sciences. More information . . .

Hughes Early Entry Program Fellowships -- funded by a 1991 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), three fellowships were given to first-year and sophomore students from backgrounds underrepresented in the sciences and mathematics.

HHMI Gateway Program -- modeled after and administered by the McNair Early Entry Program (see below), this program, which was part of a 1993 grant from HHMI, encouraged students from groups underrepresented in biomedical science to pursue careers in biomedical fields. Science faculty, as well as a student peer advisor, would identify and
mentor selected students.

Knox/CAHMPS Pre-Senior Summer Science Program -- working in conjunction with the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program (CAHMPS), Knox invited Chicago-area African American and Latino high school students interested in medical school to take college-level physics courses (for transferable college credit) from a Knox professor. Students lived in College dorms and, in addition to faculty, worked with Knox students. Knox was the first college or university outside of Chicago to participate in this program, which ran during the early- to mid-1990s.

Knox Minority Student Mentoring Cooperative (MSMC) -- established under the Associated Colleges of Illinois' Partnership for Minority Achievement and funded through an HHMI grant, this program sought to improve the college enrollment and graduation rates of academically talented but "at-risk" African American and Hispanic American students from Illinois. This program ran through the early-1900s.

McNair Early Entry Program -- federally funded through the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, this four-year program is designed to encourage low-income, first generation, and minority college students to enter careers in teaching and research. Ten students participate in the program each year, including science majors and minors. Knox was one of the first independent liberal arts colleges in the country to successfully compete for a McNair program, which has been part of the campus since 1992. More information . . .