Howard University, Morehouse College and Winston-Salem State University launch a NSF HBCU-UP Broadening Participation Research Center focused on studying the development of African American students’ identity and motivation in STEM using a psychological strengths orientation to inquiry.

The National Science Foundation has invested $2.4 million to fund the collaborative Broadening Participation Research Center for the Development of Identity and Motivation of African American Students in STEM.  The Principal Investigators leading this innovative research and practice center are Drs. Kimberley Edelin Freeman and Cynthia Winston-Proctor (Howard University); Dr. David Wall Rice (Morehouse College); and Dr. Rashunda Stitt Richardson (Winston-Salem State University) .

The Center was established to examine the nature of identity-based motivation among African American undergraduates in STEM at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Emphasis will be placed on the STEM engagement, persistence and narrative studies positioned as significant tools leveraged to gain novel insight.

The Center is anchored in HBCU ingenuity, deep study, and synergistic team science led by principal investigators who have collaborated in some capacity for over 25 years. Coordinating their independent research labs within a collaborative Center infrastructure will enhance their research capacity to accelerate use-inspired knowledge production. In so doing, the Center’s work will be grounded in the research they have conducted across their individual academic careers, which has centered on the following: race-focused psychological science theory development and multi method research design (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) to answer questions about identity development, engagement, persistence, and achievement of African Americans within various types of  STEM educational contexts (e.g. HBCUs; K-12 education) across multiple periods of human development.  

The Center is designed  to significantly impact the evolving science of broadening participation that has been catalyzed by significant investments by the National Science Foundation HBCU-UP in broadening participation education research and human resource development. The central goals of the Center are to cultivate more direct paths forward across science disciplines as informed by mixed methods research design; and then the translation, dissemination, and mobilization of new scientific evidence generated by the Center in ways that will lead to educational improvement and increased achievement in STEM for African Americans. The Center also focuses on producing a new cadre of researchers in the psychological science of broadening participation who will have a sustained commitment to study HBCUs and the development of identity, motivation, and achievement of African Americans within STEM educational contexts. 

  • The National Science Foundation has invested $2.4 million to fund a Center investigating the psychological strengths of Black STEM students
  • The Broadening Participation Research Center for the Development of Identity and Motivation of African American Students in STEM is rooted in research labs at Morehouse College, Winston-Salem State University and Howard University
  • Center innovation will stress an asset-based approach and narrative studies
  • The Principal Investigators are long-time collaborators and demonstrate a novel and important approach in partnership and “freedom work”
  • The Center is anchored in the responsibility of applied research, the PIs charging themselves to do the work that highlights strength by translating findings, disseminating them in real time, and mobilizing new knowledge in ways that make a difference for African Americans in STEM and their associated works now.