Sloan Scholars, Cohort 1

The University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) at Duke works to increase the diversity of the campus research community by recruiting and supporting Ph.D. students from underrepresented minorities (URM) in engineering and the physical sciences.

The Duke UCEM’s goal is not only to bring more URM students into our Ph.D. programs, but also to help ensure their success by creating a robust infrastructure of people, programs, and resources to help them fully integrate into the research community at Duke. We also want to share the resources, practices, and knowledge developed through the Duke UCEM so that they can benefit all graduate students at Duke and other institutions.

Current major initiatives of the Duke UCEM include:

  • Sloan Scholarships: Each year, we award 10 Sloan Scholarships to newly admitted students in the 9 Ph.D. programs participating in the Duke UCEM. In addition to $40,000 in supplemental funding, the Scholars receive significant support in the areas of academics, mentoring, professional development, and wellness.
  • Recruitment of URM Ph.D. students: We are working to expand Duke’s current recruitment efforts and develop new partnerships to identify and engage promising URM undergraduates in STEM who may be interested in graduate study.
  • Duke-Sloan Boot Camp: Each October, we hold a full-day program for 15 undergraduates from around the country who may be interested in graduate study. The Boot Camp provides insights into the graduate school experience, the graduate admissions process, and the Duke UCEM Ph.D. programs.
  • Cultivating a robust culture of mentoring: We recruit faculty members in the nine participating Ph.D. programs as faculty champions, who will help lead efforts to facilitate the Sloan Scholars’ full integration into the Duke research community. We also provide workshops and online resources to help faculty develop as effective mentors for graduate students, particularly URMs.

Faculty champion Jiyong Hong (center) talks with a student during Early Start


The Duke UCEM is supported by generous funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It is a joint effort by the following Duke units: