George Washington Carver Research Program Nears Summer Conclusion

Participants in the 2014 George Washington Carver Research Program. Photo courtesy of Shani Farr Newton.
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Participants in the 2014 George Washington Carver Research Program. Photo courtesy of Shani Farr Newton.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The George Washington Carver Research Program is nearing a close for 2014. The eight-week summer program will conclude next week when the interns present their research to the University of Arkansas community.

Eight interns are participating in the program this year, representing eight different institutions and having research interests in a variety of disciplines. The interns are working with faculty mentors in the fields of biomedical engineering, business, computer science, electrical engineering, geosciences, horticulture and political science.

The Carver program is a recruitment initiative that identifies and provides internship opportunities to superior undergraduate students from historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges. The University of Arkansas has helped to bolster the Carver program by creating partnerships with a number of institutions across the country. New partnerships have consistently been added since the program’s creation in 1997, with the number of partner institutions growing to nearly 40.

All interns work with a faculty mentor and are exposed to various aspects of graduate study, including research and presentation skills, standardized test preparation, the graduate application process and funding a graduate education. An important component of the Carver program is a weekly dinner and dialogue event, which focuses on a new topic each week. Discussions center on topics such as interview skills and research ethics. Interns will also interact with a panel of current University of Arkansas graduate students who will talk about their experiences in graduate school.

The interns have traveled to the George Washington Carver National Park in Diamond, Missouri, toured the grounds of Carver’s birthplace and visited the on-site museum. They made a trip to Texas as well, where they visited the African American Museum of Dallas and the Sixth Floor Museum. The Sixth Floor Museum is the building from which it is believed the shots were fired that killed President John F. Kennedy, and it now houses thousands of artifacts related to the assassination.

Shani Farr Newton, director of the Carver program, believes that interns will reflect positively on their involvement with the program and hopes they will choose to return to the University of Arkansas as graduate students as a result. The Carver program has been successful in recruiting its interns to graduate school, as more than 50 percent of the alumni have gone on to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree.

“I hope they will gain experiences that provide them insight into graduate education. And I hope they return to the University of Arkansas, but I ultimately just hope they choose to continue on to graduate school,” she said.

The Carver program is of particular importance to Newton because she views it as an opportunity for the interns to gain skills they might not have had the chance to pursue otherwise.

“As director it is my goal to have an outstanding executive leadership contribution to the quality education of students while improving student achievement, involvement, retention and academics. I am committed to providing experiences that will help the interns become more engaged members of the community, competitive graduate students and provide resources for professional development,” she said.

This summer’s program will officially conclude next week when the interns participate in a poster competition and presentation that showcases their research projects. Prizes will be awarded to the interns with the top three posters. The presentation will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, in the Graduate Student Lounge in Ozark Hall.


Shani Farr Newton, director
George Washington Carver Research Program


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