A grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow a select number of students
to earn wages while they complete undergraduate courses and research projects. The
Department of Chemistry, Geology and Physics at Elizabeth City State University received
a $1,625,700 grant from the Minority Biomedical Research Support Research Initiative
for Scientific Enhancement (RISE)/National Institute for General Medical Sciences/National
Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund the Elizabeth City State University Support Program
for Academic and Research Enhancement (E- SPARE).
This project is designed to help undergraduates develop competence within their science
discipline; develop resiliency to challenges in the laboratory, in and outside the
classroom; and to develop related leadership skills. The grant will fund the program
between 2009 and 2013 and support up to 56 participants in that time frame. In the
first year, there will be 8 participants and 16 participants in subsequent years.
The proposed program will provide a strong science curriculum enhanced by well-designed
co-curricular activities. These activities include:
(1) research opportunities under the guidance of faculty
(2) participation in concurrent supplemental instruction to enhance achievement in
the student's major;
(3) workshops and motivational seminars as well as three academic and career advisement
(4) networking with ECSU faculty from the ECSU School of Mathematics, Science and
Technology, alumni and prominent visiting scientists;
(5) participation in biomedical science seminar series, workshops and scientific research
(6) paper presentations at national science symposia,
(7) publishing papers in biomedical science journals,
(8) engaging in activities that make each participant very competitive for acceptance
into strong doctoral degree programs in the U.S. A total of 56 participants will be
enrolled over the 4-year funding period with 8 participants in year one and 16 in
The purpose of the program is to motivate ECSU students to seek advanced degrees and
careers in the sciences. Specifically, it is expected that 49 or 75 percent of the
participants will be accepted at prominent institutions in the US to pursue master's
and PhD degree programs.
Dr. Ephraim Gwebu, program director for the E-SPARE program and chair of the ECSU
Department of Chemistry, Geology and Physics, said more undergraduate students should
prepare now for careers as researchers. However, he argues, someone must inform them
of those career options and provide guidance and support. The E-SPARE program will
groom ECSU undergraduates for graduate schools where challenging scientific research
projects are occurring.
"We will accept sophomores to the E-SPARE program who have a minimum 3.0 grade point
average. Potential students are those who plan to attend graduate school and major
in chemistry, sociology, biology and physics and psychology," Gwebu said.
During the summer, all of these students will conduct research with faculty at several
universities including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University,
East Carolina University, Wake Forest University, Emory University, University of
Louisville, The Ohio State University, Clemson University, Loma Linda University in
California, Meharry Medical College and Howard University, Vanderbilt University and
Virginia Commonwealth University. It is a rare and a unique opportunity for students
to earn a salary, basically year round, to conduct research while completing their
coursework and engaging in academic activities to make them highly competitive for
entry into PhD programs."
"Preparation for future challenges begins now and the E-SPARE will be a catalyst,"
For more information, contact Dr. Ephraim Gwebu in the ECSU Department of Chemistry,
Geology and Physics, 252-335-3232 or Mrs Shanta Armwood-Outlaw (Program Coordinator),