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Diversity in Higher Ed Expert to Offer BURS Keynote on ‘Creating a Culture of Discovery’

Dr. Freeman HrabowskiNamed by TIME magazine in 2012 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, comes to Belmont next week as the keynote speaker for the 23rd annual Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS) April 17-19. Each year BURS provides undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent research and present it to a community of peers.

During BURS more than 200 student presenters from 27 different fields across campus will offer glimpses of their research in sessions scheduled to be held Wednesday and Thursday. Click here for a listing of all sessions by department. BURS will conclude on Friday with a 10 a.m. convocation address in MPAC by Hrabowski on “Creating a Culture of Discovery: The Excitement & Benefits of Undergraduate Research.”

Belmont Math Professor Dr. Glenn Acree chairs this year’s BURS. He said, “Belmont has a rich tradition of engaging students in research as a vital and energizing element of the undergraduate experience. BURS provides our campus an opportunity to celebrate the efforts and abilities of these students, impassioned by disciplines that provide them with tools and the expertise to explore our humanity and the world around us. I am delighted to have Dr. Freeman Hrabowski as this year’s keynote speaker as he challenges our community to ‘… explore the benefits and excitement of undergraduate research.’  I hope that our entire university will take this opportunity to experience the wealth of research talent our students will share during BURS 2013!

Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He spoke in February at TED2013 offering his thoughts on setting high expectations for all students. Hrabowski chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads, and he was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He serves as a consultant to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and universities and school systems nationally.

With philanthropist Robert Meyerhoff, he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program in 1988. The program is open to all high-achieving students committed to pursuing advanced degrees and research careers in science and engineering, and advancing underrepresented minorities in these fields. The program is recognized as a national model, and based on program outcomes, Hrabowski has authored numerous articles and co-authored two books, Beating the Odds and Overcoming the Odds (Oxford University Press), focusing on parenting and high-achieving African American males and females in science. He and UMBC were recently featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes, attracting national attention for the campus’s achievements involving innovation and inclusive excellence.

A child-leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Hrabowski was prominently featured in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary, Four Little Girls, on the racially motivated bombing in 1963 of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Born in 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama, Hrabowski graduated at 19 from Hampton Institute with highest honors in mathematics. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he received his M.A. (mathematics) and four years later his Ph.D. (higher education administration/statistics) at age 24.

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