College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

APS Project Manager to Discuss Minority Bridge Program Nov. 15

An American Physical Society official will discuss how minorities can prepare for graduate studies in physics Nov. 15 at the University of Mississippi.

Peter Muhoro, project manager for APS’s Minority Bridge Program, speaks at 4 p.m. in Lewis Hall Auditorium. The event, sponsored by UM’s Department of  Physics and Astronomy, is free to the public. Muhoro’s topic is “The APS Minority Bridge Program: Preparing Minority Students for Graduate School in Physics.”

“In this talk, 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,” Muhoro said.

Universities grant only 9 to 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in physics to underrepresented minorities, Muhoro said. Only 5 to 6 percent of that group go on to earn a doctorate.

“The talent is present, but forces conspire to divert students from this path, consequently losing both capable scientists and potential mentors for future generations,” Muhoro said. “Several programs have bucked this trend and increased the number of underrepresented students who are now receiving doctoral degrees.”

Emanuele Berti, UM assistant professor of physics and astronomy, encourages community members to attend.

“The lecture should be of interest to all faculty, staff and students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, those in the African-American Studies program and people in the School of Education,” said Berti, who himself directs an outreach program (funded by the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award). The program promotes minority enrollment in the physical sciences, targeting in particular historically black colleges and universities, community colleges and schools in the Mississippi Delta.

Muhoro earned his doctorate in applied physics from the University of Michigan in 2010. Before that, he earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from Hampton University. His professional experience includes entrepreneurship, systems administration, project management and nonprofit management. Muhoro has also authored and co-authored more than 15 publications.

The speaker has been inducted into several national honor societies, including Sigma Pi Sigma Physics National Honor Society, where he served as president. He received Hampton’s President’s Award, the highest senior honor for scholastic achievement and community service, and numerous research awards. He also serves on several national and international committees.