PLANTS II: Increasing the diversity of plant scientists

Grant Details


This award will provide support for 12 students (10-11 undergraduate students, 1-2 graduate students) per year from diverse backgrounds to attend the annual meetings of the Botanical Society of America (BSA). The goal is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who attend these meetings and to increase their motivation to complete advanced degrees in the plant sciences. The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow's Scientists) program supports a mentoring network of graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and faculty who assist the students before, during and after the meetings. The program promotes retention of students in graduate school by encouraging the academic development of those in the pipeline (including but not limited to PLANTS alumni), encouraging them to serve as role models and mentors, and to participate in other PLANTS activities (e.g., panel workshops, admissions committees). Recognizing that the vitality of the discipline depends upon inclusion of people from the broadest possible base, and given the low diversity of the membership within the plant sciences, the BSA actively seeks to increase participation of underrepresented groups. The BSA includes a broad membership, with members with different ages, types of institutions, and academic areas. This breadth offers far-reaching opportunities for students to explore their interests in the plant sciences and to broaden their career opportunities. Greater visible involvement and engagement of all BSA members in these activities emphasizes to all the critical need for continued diversity recruitment for the vitality of the discipline

At the annual meeting, each undergraduate is assigned a peer mentor (usually a graduate student), and a senior mentor (post-doctoral scholar, faculty, or other professional). The student and mentors determine the talks of greatest interest to the student, attend and discuss the content of those talks together, attend required activities and networking events together, and mentors introduce students to faculty, postdocs, and students in their academic field. The PLANTS graduate students serve as peer mentors and role models. The mentors not only interpret the content of scientific talks to students, but also point out their broader relevance and pass on to students the genuine intellectual excitement and involvement of the conference participants. Required sessions include research talks, professional development workshops (e.g., how to apply to graduate school, careers in the plant sciences), and application of the plant sciences to societal needs.

Effective start/end date09/1/1508/31/21


  • National Science Foundation: $106,310.00


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