6 Back-to-School Traditions at MSIs

by Jillian Cener

With the summer winding down, students all over the country are getting ready to head back to school. Luckily for students at these Minority Serving Institutions, they have some pretty cool traditions and events to look forward to! Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 6 back-to-school traditions at MSIs around the country.

1) Templo del Sol: San Diego State University (AANAPISI/HSI)—San Diego, CA


Organized by the Office of New Student and Parent Programs and sponsored by Aztec Nights, Templo del Sol is a relatively new tradition on campus. The event takes place the night of freshman move-in and is a celebration for all new students on campus. Students get to enjoy music, games, and activities, while also learning the institution’s Fight Song.

2) Starvation Gulch: University of Alaska, Fairbanks (ANNH)—Fairbanks, AK


Starvation Gulch has long roots on campus, going back to the year 1923. Though the activities have changed throughout the years, Starvation Gulch is a way for students to celebrate the new school year. Activities include a game night, outdoor activities, and bonfires.

3) Cat Camp: Texas State University (HSI)—San Marcos, TX


Texas State offers its new incoming students to participate in Cat Camp the summer before their first fall semester. Cat Camp takes place over the course of a few days in which new students learn about the campus and its traditions. It’s a great way for new students to meet other incoming students, as well as upperclassman.

4) Panther Camp: Florida International University (HSI)—Miami, FL


Panther Camp is a way for new freshman or transfer students to get to know FIU before they start their first semester. With start dates throughout the year depending on the semester of admission, Panther Camp participants get to know FIU faculty, staff, and students as they learn about their institution’s traditions. Students also develop leadership skills and get to know about the resources available to them on campus.

5) University 101: Hampton University (HBCU)—Hampton, VA


Hampton gives its incoming students a prolonged opportunity to learn about the campus and its traditions. All students must participate in an orientation before classes start, in which they learn about college life and Hampton’s traditions. Once classes do start, new students are required to take a University 101 course in which they will continue to learn about the history of their institution.

6) Minerpalooza: University of Texas at El Paso (HSI)—El Paso, TX


Students at UTEP look forward to Minerpalooza every year, an event filled with food, games, and entertainment every August. The event serves as a pep rally for the new school year and allows students to connect with new and old friends. Minerpalooza is also a great way for students to get to know about different student organizations on campus.

How is your school celebrating the new academic year? Let us know in the comments below!

A Closer Look at 8 Private MSIs

by Carol Sandoval

Minority Serving Institutions come in all shapes, sizes, and types. One main difference amongst MSIs is whether they classify as private or public MSIs. This small detail dictates the funding sources, class size, cost of attendance, etc. of the institution. Private schools are known for having smaller class sizes and greater tuition compared to their public counterparts. However, often times, they have greater funding resources to make college more affordable for their students. In today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up, we highlight 8 private Minority Serving Institutions with financial aid that covers more than 50% of tuition, according to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.*

*All data is based on information for 2014-15 full-time beginning undergraduate students.

1) St. John’s University, New York (AANAPISI)—Queens, NY

Undergraduate Tuition: $38,680

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $24,362

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 63.0%

2) Salish Kootenai College (TCU)—Pablo, MT

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,191 (in-district)

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $4,841

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: More than 100%!

3) Rust College (HBCU)—Holly Springs, MS

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,286

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $5,836

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 62.8%

 4) Philander Smith College (HBCU)—Little Rock, AR

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,564

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $10,507

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 83.6%

5) University of Southern California (AANAPISI)—Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate Tuition: $48,280

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $33,178

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 68.7%

6) St. Thomas University (HSI)—Miami Gardens, FL

Undergraduate Tuition: $27,150

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $16,111

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 59.3%

7) Martin University (PBI)—Indianapolis, IN

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,960

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $10,975

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 91.8%

8) St. Augustine’s University (HBCU)—Raleigh, NC

Undergraduate Tuition: $17,890

Average Amount of Aid Received in Grants/Scholarships: $10,507

Average Percentage of Tuition Covered: 58.7%


Know more information about other private MSIs? Share in the comments below!

5 MSIs Studying Sustainability Across the World

by Jillian Cener

Do you do your part to help preserve the beauty and health of our planet? The following 5 Minority Serving Institutions are supporting their students in learning about sustainability and contributing to making the world a better place. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up celebrates institutions that take their commitment to sustainability across the world!

1) ) Sustainability in Copenhagen: Santa Monica College (AANAPISI/HSI)—Santa Monica, CA

Copenhagen, Denmark is known for its sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives, such as using bikes and public transportation. Santa Monica College took its students on a trip to this vibrant city over Spring Break to learn about its history, politics, and sustainability efforts. Click here for more information.

2) Art, Community, and the Environment in Mexico – San Jose State University (AANAPISI)

Students at San Jose State University will travel to Oaxaca, Mexico this summer for an alternative summer break. While on the trip, students will work with the Ecoalebrijes Artisan Association to create a healthy local economy, keeping art, the community, and the environment in mind. Click here for more information.

3) Environment and Culture in Australia and New Zealand – New Mexico State University (HSI)

For students at New Mexico State University looking for a short summer trip, they need to look no further than the faculty-led trip to Australia and New Zealand. Students on the trip will examine issues regarding the interplay of the environment and culture for people who live in the Pacific Islands. Click here for more information.

4) Environmental Science in Bolivia – Broward College (HSI)

Honors College students at Broward College got to spend their spring semester in a unique way. The first half of the semester was spent studying environmental science, followed by a spring break trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where students spent the week giving back to the community. Upon returning from the trip, students completed the semester by enrolling in an interdisciplinary studies course. Click here for more information.

5) Park Restoration in Oklahoma – University of Houston (AANAPISI)

For University of Houston students who wanted to help the environment not too far from home, this spring break trip provided opportunities to clean up and restore Lake Murray State Park in Ardmore, OK. As Oklahoma’s first and largest state park, there were plenty of opportunities for students to contribute to the upkeep and sustainability of the park. Click here for more information.

Do you know any other MSIs making strides to preserve our planet? Let us know in the comment section below!

Neuroscience Studies at MSIs

by Carol Sandoval

Minority Serving Institutions around the world are increasing the number of racially minoritized students in STEM majors. More specifically, MSIs are excelling and offering new majors, including neuroscience. Now is an exciting time to learn about neuroscience and how our day-to-day decisions have a biological basis. Here are 6 MSIs with neurobiology majors!

1) Neuroscience: University of Southern California (AANAPISI)—Los Angeles, CA

USC has three different neuroscience options: Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience, Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience, and Bachelor of Science in Computational Neuroscience.

2) Neuroscience: Universidad Central del Caribe (HSI)—Bayamón, PR

Universidad Central de Bayamón | Universidad con sentido Humano

Recently founded, the department of Neuroscience at UCC offers Bachelor’s in Science, Master’s in Science, M.D., and Ph.D. Additionally, it offers “high-end facilities and equipment for multidisciplinary investigations of the nerve structure and function. This includes sophisticated instrumentation for tracing fluorescent molecular markers in live neurons and for the study of neuronal substructures at the sub-cellular and macromolecular level.”

3) Neurobiology and Behavior: University of California, Irvine (AANAPISI)—Irvine, CA

The major at UC Irvine “will help the students to develop their analytical and reasoning skills by exposing them, in depth, to the complex but fundamental research issues of experimental design and data interpretation.”

4) Neuroscience: University of California, Riverside (AANAPISI/HSI)—Riverside, CA

The Neuroscience major at UC Riverside covers a vast amount of information including “neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry in human and other animals; neural mechanisms underlying sensory system function and perception; neural organization of behavior; development of the nervous system; and neural mechanisms of learning and memory.”

5) Neuroscience: University of Illinois at Chicago (AANAPISI)—Chicago, IL

The Neuroscience major at University of Illinois at Chicago is a “joint program sponsored by the Departments of Biological Sciences and Psychology with the support of Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience (LIN) faculty from the Departments of Chemistry and Philosophy.”

6) Neuroscience and Cognitive Science: University of Maryland, College Park (AANAPISI)—College Park, MD

Although the University of Maryland, College Park does not have a Neuroscience major, it does offer a Neuroscience minor, which provides an introduction to the field of neuroscience and its research methodology.


Know of any more Minority Serving Institutions that offer Neuroscience-related majors? Share in the comments below!

5 Famous STEM Inventors from MSIs

by Aisha Bowen

As we engage in activities and life responsibilities day to day, does it ever cross your mind who were the masterminds that created the things you use every day? Interestingly, a large majority of these inventors received their training at MSIs. Today’s Monday Morning Line Up highlights 5 inventors in STEM from MSIs.

1) CUNY Hunter College (AANAPISI)—New York City, NY

hunter college

patricia bathDr. Patricia Bath (1942– )

Dr Patricia Bath is the first African American to complete her residency in ophthalmology. Her most well-known invention, the Laserphaco Probe (1986), involved laser technology, where the device created a less painful and more precise treatment of cataracts. Bath received a patent for her invention, the Laserphaco Probe, in 1988. With this invention, she took the title of the first African-American female doctor to receive a patent for this type of medical purpose. Bath is a two-time MSI graduate, earning her Bachelors degree from Hunter College (AANAPISI) in 1964 and graduating from Howard University Medical School.

For more information, click here.

2) Fisk University (HBCU)—Nashville, TN

Fisk University .jpg


Otis Boykin (1920-1982)

Otis Boykin graduated from Fisk University (then known as Fisk College) with a Bachelors degree in 1941. He is most famous for his 1959 invention of a wire precision resistor. The resistor allowed for specific amounts of current to flow through for a specific purpose and would be used in radios and televisions. He also created another resistor that could be manufactured very inexpensively.

For more information, click here.

3) Southern University and A&M College (HBCU)—Baton Rouge, LA


Betty Harris.jpg

Dr. Betty Harris (1940–   )

Dr. Betty Harris is a three-time MSI graduate! She received her Bachelors of Science from Southern University, Master of Science from Atlanta University (now combined to make Clark Atlanta University), and her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico (HSI). Dr. Harris is an expert in the chemistry of explosives. Harris invented a spot test for discovering explosives in a field environment.

For more, click here and here.

 4) Howard University (HBCU)—Washington, D.C.


george alcorn

George Edward Alcorn, Jr. (1940–   )

George Alcorn has many impressive credentials but is most famous for his innovation of the imaging x-ray spectrometer. This device “helps scientists better understand what materials are composed of when they cannot be broken down” (source). Alcorn received the NASA Inventor of the Year Award for this amazing invention. Alcorn received his Masters of Science in Nuclear physics in 1963 from Howard University (HBCU) and also held faculty positions at two MSIs: Howard University (HBCU) and the University of the District of Columbia (HBCU).

For more information, click here.

5) Morgan State University (HBCU)—Baltimore, MD


morgan state

valerie thomas

Valerie Thomas (1943–   )

Valerie Thomas completed her undergraduate studies at Morgan State University and was one of only two women at Morgan to major in physics. She graduated from Morgan and accepted a position as a data analyst at NASA. In 1980, Thomas invented the “illusion transmitter which produces optical illusion images via two concave mirrors” (source). This invention was adopted by NASA, for use in surgery, and for advancing television and video screens.

For more information, click here.

Who are some more inventors, either in STEM or not, who graduated from Minority Serving Institutions? Share in the comments below!