The University of Michigan’s Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), an initiative facilitated by Rackham Graduate School, welcomes undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in their respective fields of study. An immersive 10-week summer program, SROP plays an important role in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at U-M and in graduate education.
With financial support from Rackham, SROP students presented at two national academic conferences in the fall 2023 semester. Three students went on to secure research awards.
Five 2023 SROP representatives showcased their work at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS): Andrea Laboy-Figueroa (University of Puerto Rico, Humacao), Enyce Fairbanks (Arizona State University), Amirah Nieves Medina (University of Puerto Rico, Humacao), Erika Noel (Florida International University), and Leila McDonnaugh-Eaddy (Spelman College). Both Nieves Medina and Noel took home awards for their conference research presentations.
Andrea Laboy-Figueroa, a 2023 SROP participant, presented research at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), earning an outstanding research presentation award.
“It’s energizing to see the scholarly development of SROP participants and their journey to graduate studies,” says Richard Nunn, senior program lead at Rackham.
“Presenting research at an academic conference as an undergraduate student has such a profound impact on an SROP student’s career trajectory.”
SROP Community Impacts
Through SROP, participants learn from U-M faculty, partake in professional development workshops, and expand their scholarly networks. They also receive post-program support throughout the academic year, including academic conference presentation support, continued professional development opportunities, and graduate school application mentorship.
SROP participant data paints an inspiring picture: 68 percent of SROP students hail from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), 66 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and over 73 percent are eligible for Pell Grants or considered high need. Furthermore, SROP is proving to be an effective conduit for future Wolverines, with over 93 percent of the 2021 and 2022 SROP cohorts applying to U-M for graduate studies, and over 53 percent receiving acceptances.
Rackham celebrates the achievements of SROP participants with pride. Recently, the Rackham community came together as part of the school’s 2023 Giving Tuesday festivities in November to raise $6,455 to help SROP students present their summer research at academic conferences, easing students’ financial burden and supporting all that the program brings to our campus community.