Journal of Research in Technical Careers


Underrepresented minorities, retention, family model, faculty mentoring, undergraduate research


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Biology | Computer Sciences | Engineering Education | Mathematics | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning | Science and Mathematics Education


Undergraduate minority retention and graduation rates in STEM disciplines is a nationally recognized challenge for workforce growth and diversification. The Benjamin Banneker Scholars Program (BBSP) was a five-year undergraduate study developed to increase minority student retention and graduation rates at an HBCU. The program structure utilized a family model as a vehicle to orient students to the demands of college. Program activities integrated best K-12 practices and workforce skillsets to increase academic preparedness and career readiness. Findings revealed that a familial atmosphere improved academic performance, increased undergraduate research, and generated positive perceptions of faculty mentoring. Retention rates among BBSP participants averaged 88% compared to 39% among non-participant STEM peers. The BBSP graduation rate averaged 93% compared to 20% for non-participants. BBSP participants were more likely to gain employment in a STEM field or enter into a professional study. This paper furthers the body of research on STEM workforce diversity and presents a transferrable model for other institutions.