The Meyerhoff Scholars Program currently receives approximately 2,000 nominations and enrolls approximately 50 new students each year. The top 100-150 applicants and their families are invited to attend an on-campus selection weekend where faculty, administration, program staff, and current Meyerhoff Scholars meet with the applicants in both formal and informal circumstances. This in-depth screening process helps identify students who are a good fit for UMBC students who are not only academically prepared for a science, engineering, or math major, but also are genuinely committed to a postgraduate research-based degree and career.
Meyerhoff Scholars receive a comprehensive, four-year financial-aid package, including tuition, and room and board; Meyerhoff finalists receive somewhat more limited support. Continued support is contingent upon maintaining a B average in a science or engineering major.
Once selected for the program, each cohort of incoming Meyerhoff Scholars attends a mandatory pre-freshman six-week Summer Bridge Program, during which they take courses in math, science, and the humanities. They also learn time management, problem-solving, and study skills and take part in social and cultural events. Summer Bridge prepares scholars for the new expectations and requirements of college courses, and helps develop a close-knit peer group.
Beginning at the recruitment phase, the Meyerhoff Scholars Program emphasizes the goal of achieving a research-based Ph.D. Other values consistently emphasized include striving for outstanding academic achievement, seeking help (tutoring, advising) from a variety of sources, and supporting ones peers. Scholars are also expected to participate in community service projects.
Studying in groups is strongly and consistently encouraged by program staff, as it is viewed as an important part of succeeding in a science, math, or engineering major. Meyerhoff Scholars consistently rank study groups as one of the most positive, beneficial aspects of the program.
The Meyerhoff Scholars Program provides a family-like, campus-based social and academic support system for students. Students live in the same residence hall during their first year and are required to live on campus during subsequent years. Staff regularly hold group meetings called family meetings with students.
Personal Advising and Counseling
A full-time academic advisor, along with the programs executive director, director, and assistant director, regularly monitors and advises students. Counselors are not only concerned with academic planning and performance, but also with any personal problems students may have.
All Meyerhoff Scholars are encouraged to take advantage of departmental and university tutoring resources to maximize academic achievement students are expected to excel, and are encouraged to seek not just As, but high As. Many Meyerhoff Scholars serve as peer tutors, working with both Meyerhoff and non-Meyerhoff students.
Summer Research Internships
All Meyerhoff Scholars are exposed to research early on in order to gain hands-on experience and to develop a clearer understanding of what studying science entails. Program staff use an extensive network of contacts to arrange summer science and engineering internships, opportunities that maintain intrinsic interest in science, math, or engineering careers and create mentoring relationships.
Each scholar is paired with a mentor, recruited from among Baltimore- and Washington-area professionals in science, engineering, and health. In addition, scholars have faculty mentors in research labs both on and off campus, across the nation, and in other countries.
Department chairs and faculty are involved in all aspects of the program, including recruitment, teaching, mentoring research, and special events and activities. Faculty involvement promotes an environment with ready access to academic help and encouragement, fosters inter-personal relationships, and raises faculty expectations for minority students academic performance.
Administrative Involvement and Public Support
The Meyerhoff Scholars Program is supported at all levels of the university, one factor researchers have cited as important for the success of any intervention program. Funding partners to date include the National Science Foundation, NASA, IBM, AT&T, and the Sloan, Lilly, and Abel foundations.
Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress, are invited to special counseling sessions if problems emerge, and are included in various special events. The parents have formed the Meyerhoff Parents Association, which serves as a fundraising and mutual support resource.