National Science Foundation Programs (STEM)

RCMS Program
LSLAMP Program

See RCMS Progam or LSLAMP Program ( Next Step ) details at the University of New Orleans

Dr. Milton Dean Slaughter

Research Careers for
Minority Scholars (RCMS) Program

National Science Foundation Program Award Abstract

Supported primarily by the National Science Foundation, Xavier University of Louisiana (Principal Investigator—Dr. Murty Akundi) and the University of New Orleans (Principal Investigator—Dr. Milton D. Slaughter) established a Research Careers for Minority Scholars (RCMS) program.  The nationally unique program provided the structural framework for the recruitment of promising high school graduates and enrolled current students to pursue graduate study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the development of a Graduate Dual Degree arrangement between Xavier University (for STEM undergraduate degrees) and the University of New Orleans (for STEM graduate master’s degrees).  The RCMS program identified selected students and provided them with undergraduate and graduate teaching and research challenges, with experienced undergraduate and graduate faculty members as mentors and research advisors, with help in obtaining summer research internships, and with financial aid in sufficient quantity to facilitate student success.  Program unique features were the immersion of students in a quality academic environment conducive to their rapid development as future researchers and providing students with an opportunity to obtain a STEM undergraduate and a graduate degree approximately one year earlier than extant traditional approach time-frames through cooperative scheduling of required courses between the participating universities.  Ultimately, the RCMS projected programmatic goal was the increase of the minority pool of STEM doctoral candidates by approximately 20% on a nation-wide basis.

RCMS Report

National Science Foundation Phase-out of the RCMS Program Announced in FY95 in Favor of Programs Similar to the Alliances for Minority Participation Programs at the National Level

Xavier University of New Orleans and the University of New Orleans RCMS Unique in the Nation as the Only RCMS Program Geared Toward Bachelor–Masters Degree Attainment

FastLane and RCMS Reporting Categories and Questions

FastLane Reporting Categories
& Questions


RCMS Reporting Categories & Questions

Project Participants

What people have worked on your project?

List project personnel including the Project Director, Co-PDs, Project Manager, Coordinators, Advisory Board members, and members of the Project Steering Committee.

Dr. Milton Slaughter, College of Sciences, University of New Orleans; Dr. Murty Akundi, Physics/Engineering Department, Xavier University of Louisiana

What other organizations have been involved as partners?




Identify the science, mathematics, engineering and technology departments, programs and schools that participate in the RCMS project. Students majoring in the following disciplines: chemistry, computer science, dual degree engineering, mathematics, and physics were selected to participate in the program.


Describe the extent to which members of the STEM and education departments jointly plan, develop and manage RCMS program strategies. Xavier University of Louisiana along with the University of New Orleans, developed course curriculum for the Dual Degree Graduate Program. Departments that are involved included Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics.


List institutions involved in the project, including other universities, community colleges, school districts, industry, foundations, and National Laboratories. Xavier University of Louisiana (XU) and the University of New Orleans (UNO).

Have you had other collaborations or contacts?

Document structured collaborations between the RCMS project and other programs including NSF sponsored programs such as LSLAMP, AGEP, CREST, CCLI and ATE within the awardee institution or within the state or region. In collaboration with the Model Institutions for Excellence Program we conducted colloquia and research mentorship programs. Summer internships were arranged through the E. E. Just Scholars Program for some RCMS participants


Activities and Findings

Describe the major research and education activities of the project.

One of the key objectives of the RCMS is to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education through the adaptation and implementation of educational techniques and practices which have been shown to be effective.  The major objectives of this RCMS project are to:

  • Develop a Graduate Dual Degree (B.S./M.S.) arrangement between the Xavier University of Louisiana and the University of New Orleans in chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics;
  • Recruit a total of 45 talented minority undergraduate students over a period of three years as research scholars in the program;
  • Establish a vigorous undergraduate research environment in the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University by providing encouragement and incentive to competent faculty members to develop creative undergraduate research projects;
  • Enrich the undergraduate educational training of participants by involving them in undergraduate research and teaching as an integral part of the program;
  • Organize visitations for area (within a 50 mile radius) high school seniors for research seminars to stimulate their interest in science and engineering;
  • Recruit top ranking high school seniors to major in science or engineering (in part) by instituting a freshman scholarship program; and
  • Supply a program support which will orient students to the ethos and demands of graduate level education by providing an academic environment favorable and conducive to the successful transition form the undergraduate to graduate study.



Report the extent to which RCMS project activities affect student learning and student access to quality STEM education as defined by the following quantitative student-based outcomes:

 A total of 42 students consisting of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the disciplines of chemistry (9), computer science (6), engineering (16), mathematics (6), and physics (5) have been recruited during the first three years of the program.  Of these, ten students have withdrawn for the program and their status is not known.

  • Since the directors were aware of the long-term future of the program, RCMS students were encouraged to apply for other similar programs so as to accomplish the proposed goals cited in the grant. Nine students are currently in the MIE Program, four in the ONR Future Scientists Program, three in the MARC Program; and four received a private foundation fellowship.
  • Twenty-seven received a bachelor’s degree from Xavier University–five of these received a master’s degree from UNO, eighteen are currently enrolled in masters and doctoral graduate programs, and four are employed.
  • Three students are currently enrolled in engineering school and two students are enrolled at Xavier.
  • Two UNO courses in mathematical physics for STEM undergraduates were created– which have been very successful in teaching fundamental technical skills.



Report the extent to which plans are developed and implemented to provide faculty development opportunities that engage faculty in the institutional reform effort.  Indicators of progress include:

  • Sixteen faculty were provided stipends to assist in the enrichment of the undergraduate educational training of participants by involving students as undergraduate research assistants.


Describe outreach activities your project has undertaken.

Describe project articulation with the pre-college, Community College and graduate school levels. Students from area high schools attended the STEM colloquia presented by the RCMS participants during the academic year.

Publications and Products


List educational materials collected or newly developed as part of the RCMS project.

  • M. Akundi, E. Eschenazi, and D. Mclelland, “Thermodynamic properties of molecular species in the upper atmosphere,” 2nd Annual National Conference on Diversity in the Scientific and Technological Workforce, October 1993, Washington DC.
  • Strabezewski, K. Rosenborough, “Syntheses of z-chloro-4-flourobenzoic acid z-phenylsulfonyl hydrazide,” 2nd Annual National Conference on Diversity in the Scientific and Technological Workforce, October 1993, Washington DC.
  • E. Echenazi and N. Ballard, “Electro chemical oscillations and interface dynamics,” 3rd Annual National Conference on Diversity in the Scientific and Technological Workforce, September 1994, Washington DC.
  • A. Jameel and S. Battin, “ Animation of natural languages,” 3rd Annual National Conference on Diversity in the Scientific and Technological Workforce, September 1994, Washington DC.
  • M. Akundi, S. Davis, C. Collier, A.N. Murty, and G. Lampkin, “Magneto chemical characteristics of Co-Cu-Cr catalysts,” 3rd Annual HBCU/Private Sector/DoE Research and Development Technology Transfer Symposium, April 1995, Atlanta GA.
  • M. Giguette, R. Butler, W.J. Dean and A. Lopez, “An implementatioon of objects and obect-oriented programming using PROLOG,” NCUR, April 1995.
  • J. Lewis and C. Klein, “ Structural determination of 1-Benzenesulfonyl-8-methyl-8 azabicyclo{3.2.1] octane-6-one ethylene ketal-1-carboxylic acid methyl ester,” 1996.
  • S. Davis S. Downs, A.N. Murty, G. Lampkin, and M. Akundi, “ NMR and magnetic character studies on CO adsorbed syngas catalysts,”
  • C. Collier, S. Downs, and M. Akundi, “ Adsorption studies of CO on transition metals by diffuse reflectance FTIR,” Louisiana Academy of Sciences, February 1996, Thibodaux LA.
  • G. Lampkin, J. White, A.N. Murty, S. Davis and M. Akundi, “ Magneto chemical charaistics of Co-Cu-Cr catalysts,” Louisiana Academy of Sciences, February 1996, Thibodaux LA.
  • C. Collier, A. Tsega, A.N. Murty, and M. Akundi, “CO adsorption on cobalt particles supported on chromia – a FTIR study,” NCUR 1997, Ashville NC.
  • E. Eschenazi, W. Rayford, and N. Ballard, “ Non-linear dynamics of electro chemical oscillations, surface morphology and corrosion.” NCUR, April 1997, Austin TX.

The principal disciplines of the project;

What student support and enrichment activities are in place to contribute to the success of the RCMS program?  Examples may include: bridge programs, mentorships, internships, support groups.

Graduate Placement Office

Students were encouraged to enroll in the GRE workshops conducted by the Office of Graduate Placement. The Office of Graduate Placement provided campus visitations to various schools and bi-monthly workshops to provided information on the importance of graduate study.

Summer Bridge Programs

Xavier’s Summer Science Academy includes summer bridge programs that high school juniors and seniors and serves as a recruiting tool for the sciences. SOAR (Stress On Analytical Reasoning) 1, SOAR2, SOAR3, and EXCEL, Howard Hughes Biomedical Summer Program, SOAR2 – Phase 2, and SOAR 3 – Phase 2.


Xavier University has a strong undergraduate research component, which requires that student spend a minimum of 10 hours per week in a research project mentored by faculty. This provided the needed research exposure and presentations/publications to enhance the student’s chances to attend graduate school.

Summer Internships

Each STEM faculty provides information about summer internships at various National Labs and Universities and encourages and/or assists students to apply for these opportunities.


The development of human resources;

Present baseline annual baccalaureate degree production by STEM field and show annual gains in graduation production levels. (Consult the enclosed NSF STEM Classification of Instructional Programs for STEM fields.)

Note: The number in parenthesis indicates the students in the graduate school. Not included in the data are Science Education, Biology Premed, and Chemistry Premed majors.

The Next Step program utilizes institutionalized university credit courses and specialized sections in the implementation of its mission in summer research, summer instruction, and retention of its participants.  These specialized credit courses did not exist prior to the implementation of the Next Step program. The basic objective of these courses has been to equip students with basic scientific tools in a broad sense and to assist them in developing superior quantitative/analytical skills.  The subject matter is designed to address a wide spectrum of students in a variety of disciplines in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).   Students develop a deep understanding of basic skills in scientific methodology in a workshop style setting.  Thus, the primary objective is to encourage students to think logically about how things in the nature behave, and involve them in problem solving and discuss practical applications of what they have learned.   In summary, the main objectives of the program include:

  • Developing a fundamental understanding of scientific methodology;
  • Learning technology based interactive laboratory procedures;
  • Developing deeper understanding of laboratory error analysis techniques;
  • Learning fundamental aspects of state-of-the-art computer programming (Java programming) in an interactive fashion  using the Internet;
  • Developing superior laboratory report writing skills;
  • Equipping students with basic research methods through hands-on scientific projects;
  • Student development of quality presentation skills.
  • Workshop style instruction-handouts given at the beginning of each class.
  • Classes taught using overhead projector.  Color transparencies used.
  • Hands-on approach.  Classroom demonstrations conducted.  Student participation in problem solving encouraged.
  • Related laboratory work conducted every day to reinforce learning.  Technology introduced via use of CBL (Calculator Based laboratory).
  • Special emphasis given to error analysis, data gathering during experiments.
  • Group project presentations geared to more valid student assessments and assumed improved student efforts.  In addition, laboratory activities conducted with written focus on data interpretation.

Next Step is designed to be a comprehensive program (primarily in the summer) with the mission of increasing significantly the number of bachelor degrees earned by minorities in STEM.  It accomplishes this by addressing research experiences, retention needs, recruitment, stipend support, and career guidance of targeted minorities.  In its first phase--called Next Step One—a combination summer class and workshop designed to enhance fundamental skills in mathematics and physics was conducted:  (1) Mathematics—A pre-calculus workshop was created to build and enhance foundations in algebra, trigonometry, and analytic geometry and also to sharpen  problem-solving skills; (2) Physics—A new physics lecture course (called “Physics:  An  Overview” carrying three hours of general degree credit, two hours per day, five days per week) was created to introduce and sharpen fundamental understanding of the laws of physics which govern our everyday world; and (3) Physics—A physics workshop created to supplement the physics lecture course with problem solving sessions and demonstration events.  The textbook used for the lecture course was “Principles of Physics,” (sixth edition) by F. Bueche and D. Jerde.  Three problem-solving books (Theory and Problems of College Algebra [by M. Spiegel], Theory and Problems of Trigonometry, second edition [by F. Ayres and R. Moyer], Theory and Problems of College Physics, eighth edition [by F. Bueche]) from the Schaum’s Outline Series was utilized in the accompanying mathematics and physics laboratories.  Physics topics covered included vectors and balanced forces, uniformly accelerated motion, linear motion, work and energy, momentum and the pressure of gases, angular motion, rotation of rigid bodies, and the mechanical properties of matter.  “Hands-on” activities included construction of hover-craft and accelerometers, graphing the motion of objects, the gathering and treatment of data, and construction of various machines involving acoustics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and heat.  In addition, students were given the very useful book called Writing Your A+ Research Paper as an introduction to the techniques and methodology required to make good scientific presentations.  Student evaluation of instructors was also conducted.

 In its second phase–called Next Step Twopreparatory undergraduate research and upper-level course work in physics and mathematical physics with an emphasis on vector calculus was strongly emphasized. This Next Step Two junior and senior component consisted of a summer class carrying 3 credit hours of general degree credit. The course was designed to provide fundamental skills in vector calculus and techniques necessary for all STEM majors.  For example, in the second year of the Program, students participated in a summer preparatory undergraduate research program organized as a workshop with the ultimate goal of teaching students how to prepare and deliver scientific presentations.   In addition, the Program recruited juniors and seniors for an upper-level JAVA class. This Next Step Two junior and senior component consisted of a summer class on programming for the Internet using the JAVA language.  The course was designed for students who had sufficient first and second year computer science backgrounds and programming skills to command Internet computing technology.  Several textbooks, references, and specially prepared class notes ––The Java Tutorial, An Annotated Reference, Java in a Nutshell, and Java Software Solutions were used to teach the course.  In addition, students were given the very useful book called Writing Your A+ Research Paper as an introduction to the techniques and methodology required to make good scientific presentations.  All students completed the course successfully.  As is well-known, JAVA programs are platform neutral and very popular in the rapidly growing software industry.  The Program provided all participants with a stipend of $2,500, which included summer session tuition and all textbooks required for lecture courses and/or laboratories. The Next Step Two program also brought student participants into contact with Visiting Minority Lectureship research scientists.  It is hoped that the program—through the various departmental, college, and university committees—will encourage university STEM departments to establish credit courses suitable for undergraduates performing research during the summer or academic year. Students (except for those in summer research and preparatory summer research programs) received credit with grades based on the usual 4.0 system.  Student evaluation of instructors was also conducted.

Visiting Minority Lectureship Program (VML)

In addition to in-class and in-lab instructional activities in the summer, during the academic year, visiting eminent minority scientists–were invited to participate in the program as teachers, invited speakers, and role models.  The VML program is seen as a very effective way to provide excellent “in-the-flesh” role models for Next Step participants. In addition, it is expected that the university infrastructure will also benefit from new and innovative ideas suggested by VML scientists.  Other LAMP college and university members were invited to participate in the seminar, role model, and advisory activities associated with the Visiting Minority Lectureship program component of Next Step.