Underrepresented Minority Graduate Scholars Mentoring Program

The URM Program was designed to provide students who receive minority fellowships with a mentor. The program was launched in Fall 2016 and will continue to grow and improve. The mentees are graduate students who either receive the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship, the Southern Regional Education Board Fellowship, or the Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering Fellowship. The mentors are professors throughout the university who willingly volunteered to participate in the program.


Testimonial from Brittany Rice
Nutritional Sciences, Class of 2021

Mentoring really does make ‘the’ difference. It is widely known that research demonstrates a failure to maintain minority participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, and that there is a nationwide decline in the graduation rate of underrepresented students. With the support of the Underrepresented Minority (URM) Graduate Scholars Mentoring Program, I am proud to say that I am defying these odds. My ability to do such stems from the environment that the URM Graduate Scholars Mentoring Program provides. Not only does this program foster a sense of belonging, it also equips myself and other URM graduate students with the tools to be successful. Two of the most valuable tools this program affords are my mentors, Drs. Brett Spear and Kevin Pearson.

As a graduate of a historically black university, I initially struggled with academic belonging during my transition to the University of Kentucky. My mentors understood my plight and made every effort possible to ensure my success – emphasis on the word effort because they went beyond in supporting me and acting as my advocate. Much of my success thus far is attributed to them. Both have spent an immeasurable amount of time to strengthen my academic insufficiencies by reinforcing course concepts and helping me understand and promote ‘my’ science. I cannot think of a time when one of them were not present when I needed support. I cannot reiterate enough that I would not be who I am today as a successful student and budding scientist without my mentors, and for them I am forever grateful to the URM Graduate Scholars Mentoring Program.