University of Minnesota Twin Cities

"Driven to Discover" flag outside of Northrop Auditorium
LSAMP Representative
Crystal Lee-Thao
Assistant Director
(612) 625-6135

Science, applied science, and engineering span four colleges on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses: College of Science and Engineering, College of Biological Sciences, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Liberal Arts. Numerous research institutes connect these disciplines in research across the science and technology spectrum.

Institutional History

  • Since its founding in 1851, the University of Minnesota has grown to become one of the largest public institutions in the nation.
  • The University has over 4,000 faculty serving over 40,000 undergraduates and 25,000 graduate students.
  • Being a land grant institution, it has a commitment to providing education to students of all income levels and an investment in agricultural research and development.
  • Its strategic plan is focused on growing its research to become one of the top three public research institutions in the nation.

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LSAMP Activities

Weekly Newsletter and Facebook Page

Our weekly newsletter is sent on Fridays to students engaged in the Alliance.  If you don’t open the emails, you won’t discover what’s there for you.

Why participate? Newsletters contain great offerings and essentially, $$$!

How it works: Students who apply to the Alliance are added to a mailing list.  Students like our Facebook page and receive new posts.

First-Year Scholars Program

This program is an introduction to the Alliance and a way to encourage students to get more engaged in their science or engineering major. An invitation to participate is sent to all incoming first-year or new transfer students near the beginning of the semester.

Why participate? Knowing where to find resources and meeting students with similar interests are two key ways to become more comfortable on campus.

How it works: Students use a North Star site on Canvas to find engagements of interest and record activity.  Students are expected to complete five activities related to exploring campus resources and becoming familiar with campus communities and write a reflection at the end of the semester.  Completing the activities and the reflection by the deadline will result in a stipend.

Peer Mentor Program

Mentees: Students new to the Alliance may request a peer mentor to help guide them toward achieving their academic and professional goals. Peer mentors meet with mentees one-on-one and also invite them to group gatherings.

Why participate? See the reflection to the right!

How it works: When students are accepted into the Alliance, they receive acceptance letters which offer them the opportunity to request a peer mentor. Upper division students may request a peer mentor when wanting support as they navigate locating research opportunities or preparing to apply to graduate school.

Mentors: Students who have been mentees and are in good academic standing in their major may express interest in becoming a peer mentor. The Assistant Director announces this opportunity late in spring semester each year. See the peer mentor page to learn more about the program.

Why participate? Peer mentors gain important skills in mentoring and leadership to build community around STEM for underrepresented students.

How it works: Peer mentors are hired as Student Academic Support and are paid hourly wages for time worked on the project. They can be involved with small or larger commitments of time to fit into class schedules and other student activities.

Group Study

Group study is a largely informal way to study coursework with peers.  There are many supplemental study options at UM Twin Cities through the SMART Learning Commons and via departmental offerings.  North Star offers a group study time for students to study together and get to know a community of STEM students.

Why participate? Group study is a well proven method for excelling in courses.

How it works: Our program in fall 2018 has not yet launched due to the hiring of a new assistant director.  Watch the newsletter for updates.

Grad School Prep Scholars

Students who participate in the Grad School Prep Program explore resources and opportunities that prepare students for graduate school and research. This engagement program is open primarily to students with 50 cumulative credits or more and have a cumulative GPA over 2.5. An invitation is sent to students meeting these thresholds near the beginning of each semester.

Why participate? This program offers a unique opportunity for advanced students to gain the skills necessary for applying to graduate schools.

How it works: Students are expected to complete five activities related to preparation for research and graduate school and write a reflection at the end of the semester. Completing the activities and reflection by the deadline will result in a stipend.

Undergraduate Research

Research opportunities abound at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The Alliance will support underrepresented students doing research over the semester or summer term comparable to a Undergraduate Research Opportunity grant. To encourage students toward experiencing research, we offer a Bridge to Research program to learn about how research is different from coursework and how to locate a faculty member who may serve as a mentor.

Why participate? Research is what science is—discovery. You get to experience what it is like to work on the edge of the unknown in your first professional setting, a lab or field experience with faculty and graduate students. See more reasons for doing research at right. 

How it works via other research programs:  The North Star STEM Alliance funds underrepresented STEM students applying to the Multicultural Summer Research Opportunity Program or the MnDRIVE research opportunities announced in our weekly newsletter in January. Students may go to the northsarstem webpage on conference research and apply to research. 

How it works for independent research:  The Alliance may fund independent research proposals, in the summer or academic year.  A full application for funding is a three-page research proposal with appropriate citations/references, a letter of support from your faculty mentor and a North Star STEM Alliance application. Research proposals are accepted on a rolling basis anytime during the year. Students are paid on a stipend basis in the summer, and are paid an hourly wage for research during a semester.

Reasons to Do Research:

  • You’ll never have an opportunity like this again. 
  • You won’t know if you enjoy research until you try it.
  • It’s an intense and wonderful professional development opportunity.
  • You get to know faculty and graduate students well enough for them to write strong letters of recommendation.
  • You get to apply and synthesize what you are learning in coursework.
  • It’s key performance for admission to graduate and professional schools.

Travel to Regional or National Conferences

Students may apply to travel to regional or national scientific meetings to further invest in their academic and career development.

Why participate? Students who attend national conferences focused on STEM and their cultural community will meet the largest community of underrepresented minority STEM students and professionals. The largest conference, the National Society of Black Engineers, may have attendances of 15,000. It is a very moving experience to be a part of this nationwide community of STEM scholars. Students may also propose to attend national meetings such as the American Chemical Society to learn more about subspecialties or present a poster. This is a great resume builder.

How it works: Students may go to the northstarstem webpage on conference travel  and apply to travel. If the student is part of a group going from a STEM student organization, a representative of the group works with the NSSA staff to organize the travel. NSSA staff review the application, and if approved, our administrative assistant proceeds with purchasing registration, flight, and hotel arrangements.

Students who travel with Alliance support also agree to offer a minimum of five hours of volunteer service in order to share their experiences with fellow students and to serve as role models to prospective students.

Alliance-wide Events & Workshops

The Alliance offers a Pursuing the Highest Degree (Ph.D.) workshop in November annually. This three-hour workshop introduces students to the differences between undergraduate and graduate study, establishes the value of earning a graduate degree, and walks through the process of preparing for a graduate application over the last two to three years of undergraduate study.

Why participate? Graduate school functions, and is funded, very differently from undergraduate study. Find out how it differs and how it can create far greater career opportunities.

How it works: Watch the newsletter in October for announcements and fill out the brief pre-registration. The workshop is also part of the Grad School Prep program.

Jump Start Your STEM Job Search is a daylong workshop in February offered annually by our Alliance partners, Augsburg University and the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Why participate? Polish your skills in resumes, professional statements, job search skills, interviewing skills, and reflect on pathways your career might take.

How it works: Watch the newsletter in January for announcements and fill out the brief pre-registration. 

Social Activities

Alliance students are invited to visit the Science Museum of Minnesota, an Alliance partner, at a reduced entrance fee. The wonderful aspect of the LSAMP program is that it can be customized to your needs. You let us know how you want to grow in your academics and career development and we will see how the program can support it.