Another stereotype claims that inadequate K-12 education in the United States is to blame for students' lack of interest in pursuing college-level science study. Data from our own and other institutions indicate that students of color and from all educational and income levels enroll in introductory courses in biology and chemistry (the disciplines on which we have focused) at representative levels. Yet they disengage during their earliest experiences at the university level. The most successful programs have found ways to stem this early exodus from the sciences.

Louisiana State University's relatively new La-STEM and La-Scholars "mentoring ladder" Programs have graduate students mentor undergraduate science majors and undergraduate science majors mentor entering undergraduates. Programs such as these, along with the Meyerhoff Scholars Program and Biology Scholars Program, keep underrepresented minority students thriving in the sciences, and they can serve as models for the effective engagement of underrepresented science students nationwide....

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