Cal Poly Pomona

Physics and Astronomy Seminar

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Diversity in Physics Graduate School

Peter Muhoro

American Physical Society

While physics grants a mere 9-10% of its bachelor degrees to underrepresented minorities, it does even worse for advanced degrees, with only 5-6% eventually earning a PhD. The talent is present, but forces conspire to divert students from this path, consequently losing both capable scientists, and potential mentors for future generations. Several programs have bucked this trend and increased the number of underrepresented students who are now receiving doctoral degrees in physics. This talk will briefly describe the American Physical Society's Minority Bridge Program, an expansion of these successful efforts to create a network of institutions that will help undergraduates successfully navigate the transition to doctoral studies. I will describe the program's critical features, innovative ideas, and program elements that can help address the barriers that currently keep promising students from pursuing advanced study in physics.

Dr. Peter Muhoro is the Program Manager for the Minority Bridge Project at the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. The American Physical Society is the largest professional society representing physicists in the United States, publishing the most significant international journals in physics, and facilitating programs to represent physicists and their interests. The Minority Bridge Program ( has a goal to bring the fraction of physics PhDs granted to underrepresented minorities (African American, Native American and Hispanic American) into parity with the fraction of undergraduates (an increase of about 30 per year) within the next ten years. Peter earned his doctorate in Applied Physics (Energy Policy) from The University of Michigan in 2010. Prior to that, he earned a MS in Applied Physics (Optics) from The University of Michigan and BS degree in Physics, with a minor in Mathematics, from Hampton University. Peter's professional experience includes entrepreneurship, systems administration, project management and non-profit management. He is also the author and co-author of over 15 publications. He has been inducted into several national honor societies, including Sigma Pi Sigma Physics National Honor society where he served as the President from 2004 - 2005. In 2005, he received the Hampton University President's Award, (the highest honor a graduating senior could receive) for scholastic achievement and community service. Peter has also received numerous research awards, serves on several national and international committees and has been the founder of two businesses and a non-profit organization.

Refreshments at 10:50 AM. Seminar begins at 11:00 AM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014

Last modified on February 5, 2012
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