Chair of the Hampton University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Dr. Oluwatoyin Ajibola Asojo, Awarded $1,125,000 NIH Grant to Increase Diversity in Biomedical Careers

HAMPTON, Va. (November 19, 2020) –  Dr. Oluwatoyin Ajibola Asojo, Chair of
the Hampton University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, has received
a Diversity Program Consortium (DPC) Dissemination and Translation Award
of $1,125,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to deploy and
test evidence-based interventions to increase diversity in biomedical
careers. As there is an urgent need to increase the diversity of the
biomedical workforce, this project will use the interventions to improve
student competency in gatekeeper chemistry courses at Hampton University.

“Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our daily lives,
our faculty have stepped up and doubled their efforts in securing funding
to make sure that Hampton University excels above the rest.
Congratulations to Dr. Oluwatoyin Asojo for her determination to secure
this grant that aims to help increase the diversity of the biomedical
workforce,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.

The project is titled “HU-ChEM: Deploying Evidence-Based Interventions in
Chemistry at Hampton University to Plug Leaks in the Biomedical Training
Pipeline.” For this project, Hampton University will receive award amount
of $375,000 for three years for a total of $1,125,000. Dr. Asojo will
deploy an education and mentorship program to increase the persistence of
underrepresented minority students in biomedical careers.

“I am excited to deploy the Hampton University Chemistry Education and
Mentorship (HU-ChEM) intervention program. There are three components of
HU-ChEM: 1) HU-ChEM SCALE-UP where we teach an entry-level freshman
chemistry course for STEM majors using the Student-Centered Active
Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP). 2) HU-ChEM
CUREs; a pre-college Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences
(CUREs) and 3) HU-ChEM faculty development, offers enhanced chemistry
faculty training,” Dr. Asojo said.

Over the course of the 3-year study, those involved in the project will
use DPC survey tools to measure and monitor hallmarks of student, faculty
and institutional success. They will collect both quantitative and
qualitative data, and use robust statistical analysis to measure the
effects of HU-ChEM interventions on participants compared to matched
controls in the short-, medium- and long-terms.

“I am looking forward to implementing these evidence-based methods to
improve learner outcomes in chemistry while conducting rigorous STEM
educational research. I am also excited to work with the NIGMS, University
of Texas El Paso, and our internal team, including Co-Investigators: Drs.
Peter Njoki, Francis Erebholo, Rikesha L. Fry Brown, Luisel Ricks-Santi,
and Michelle Penn-Marshall; and Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty,” said
Dr. Asojo.  “In addition to improving student success in a first-year
level gatekeeper chemistry course, we will generate much-needed outcomes
data to inform on best practices in trainee, faculty, and institutional
success.”

“It is an honor to serve alongside these talented, distinguished, and
diverse group of scientists as we seek to plug leaks on the biomedical
training pipeline at Hampton University by deploying evidence-based
intervention in Chemistry,” said Dr. Francis Erebholo, Assistant Professor
for the Hampton University Department of Mathematics. “This is a great
opportunity for undergraduate mathematics students in the biomedical track
to gain exposure to authentic research experience and mentorship from
seasoned faculty in the department of Chemistry.”

Analysis of the data generated from HU-ChEM will reveal cost-effective
ways of deploying intervention programs to plug the leaky biomedical
training pipeline.