Howard University Karsh STEM Scholars Program (KSSP)

MODERATOR’S NOTE: I changed the thread title to match the updated name of this scholars program.

I wanted to create a thread for future applicants to Howard University who are interested in STEM careers as they have a relatively new scholarship (2nd year) called the Bison Stem Scholars Program (BSSP) which offers full tuition, room, board, a summer bridge program, research/internship opportunities, study abroad opportunities, and a $1500 a year towards books and has the expressed goal of helping Howard STEM students reach PhD and MD/PhD levels of education. My daughter applied EA to Howard in October and was accepted to Howard on 12/16. On 12/20, she received an e-mailed invitation to apply from the Program with a deadline of 1/30/18. Applying to the program included an application, official high school transcript, official SAT/ACT scores, two recommendations, and 3 short (500 words or less) essays. She was notified on 02/16 that she was selected as a BSSP finalist and was invited to the Bison STEM Scholars Selection Weekend on March 23rd-24th at Howard University. Howard chose about 100 finalists and 87 finalists (that was my wife’s count) came to Howard this weekend. The program director spoke to the parents and students and the students introduced themselves and the accomplishments/grades/stats of the finalists was amazing. The students were grouped for an activity as the parents were released for the evening. The BSSP finalists were hosted by a student at Howard on Friday evening and the current scholars held a student “mixer” to get to know the students. On Saturday March 24th, the students had to take Howard’s math placement test (ALEKS) and each of the students went through a panel interview. During the weekend, we were told that the STEM Scholars program would choose 25 student scholars for the 2nd cohort of the program. The BSSP will notify the scholars by April 15 if they were chosen or not for the scholarship. The program at Howard is being modeled after the UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars Program which maybe the premier scholars program for African Americans in the US as 10% of all African American MD/PhDs in the USA over the last 15 years have come from the University of Maryland Baltimore, more than double any other school and have produced 270+ PhDs, 260+ masters degrees and 100+ MDs in 30 years (including the current US Surgeon General). Hopefully, Howard will be able to recreate that magic. I will give an update once a decision is made on my daughter.

Has anyone heard any results yet for the 2018 candidates?

My daughter has not heard anything back yet for the 2nd cohort (2018).

We were hoping to have heard something by now. We have other options, as Im sure your daughter does as well that my son is considering and have to make a final decision by May 1st. This doesnt give much time to decide. Starting to get a bit concerned considering all the financial aid issues that have surfaced the past few weeks…

@My2boyz My daughter is down to Howard and Georgia Tech. She has decided that Howard is the school with the scholarship and Georgia Tech is the school if she is not chosen for the BSSP. We won’t wait to see if others turn it down and just move on to Georgia Tech. I am not worried about the financial aid press (Howard has an operating budget of 800 million dollars a year and less than 1 million dollars was stolen over 10 years and the issue was caught and fixed). Good luck to your son and our families won’t have much longer to wait.

I appreciate the encouraging words. I wish your daughter the best as well. We should get something tomorrow hooefully!

@My2boyz We just got the email and my daughter was chosen for the 2nd cohort! Our family still can not believe it. I am praying for your child and family to get good news and check your email.

Wonderful! It has been nice to witness your dd’s journey!

@jazzymomof7 I still can not believe it. She worked for the best outcome but I have always prepared her for the disappointment, because the admissions and scholarship competition out there is amazing. I personally feel blessed and humbled by her being chosen.

Congratulations to you and your family! What great news! We still have yet to hear from anyone. We will try to reach out to someone today and if we dont reach them I think it will be time for us to move on and explore some other great choices he has. Best of luck to your daughter.

@My2boyz I am so sorry that you have not heard anything yet as everyone should have gotten an e-mail at the same time. Please keep us informed of your final outcome and I hope that there is a good reason why you were not notified yesterday (but I can not think of one).

Update: My daughter has been dropped off on Howard’s campus for the start of the BSSP’s 2nd cohort’s Summer Bridge Program. There were 29 students selected to be a part of the 2nd class of Bison Stem Scholars. The students are spending 6 weeks taking 2 classes (Calculus I and Intro to Afro American Studies) along with a Physics Seminar, Chemistry Seminar, daily study halls, panels with STEM PhD successes, and classes in time management, etiquette, work ethic, team building, etc. Since the program is starting in June, taking care of some college documentation (getting a physical, shot records, and getting medical history entered into web based medical database) was accelerated for my daughter but was completed before arrival. She also scheduled and completed her LPE (Language Placement Exam) to see if she could exempt some language requirements. Parents were given a briefing over the study abroad program at Howard along with some preliminary information on the Scholars late summer trip to Germany. The parent meeting had some apprehensive parents (my own observation) about the restrictions dictated about the students time and ability to communicate with their children. The students schedules are jam packed and they will not have much free time at all. I am personally excited about the watching my own student grow as a young adult and trust the model being used to groom her towards her goal of a Research Chemist.

I saw on Facebook (I’m following Bison STEM Scholars) that they’re on their way to Germany. Is your daughter on the trip? Did she enjoy the 6 weeks?

Also, you mentioned she was taking 2 classes during those 6 weeks. Is the whole cohort taking the same 2 classes, or is there some differentiation? My daughter is seriously considering applying, but will have completed Calc 2, possibly Calc 3 by then. She wouldn’t be bothered by taking it again to brush up, but would obviously benefit from the chance to take something else. And if they differentiate, it might also speak to the range of students accepted into the program. We’re confident she will get into Howard, less confident about the competition for this program

@CTScoutmom Yes, my daughter is on her way to Germany right now. She has had a life changing growth over the 6 week program from my own perspective. She has never had an issue making friends, but the process that the students have gone through pushed them to be a surrogate family. Washington DC has been amazing from her point of view and Howard has provided some of their top professors to teach the summer courses. My daughter has never been happier. The students had some restrictions this summer (No phone usage from 8am-10pm during the week, 3 hour study hall sessions 7 days a week, etc.) but they seemed to bond over those “hardships”. There was some differentiation between the math classes (college algebra, pre-calc., and most of the cohort in Honors level Calculus I which was decided by ALEKS Test results from the scholarship weekend). There were some who had AP credits for Calculus, but it seems like they want the Scholars to get their STEM credits from Howard, based on what I have seen so far (I will ask about that for verification). My daughter did very well in the Summer Calculus I class (She had AP Calculus BC as a junior in high school but only did ok on AP Exam) so the early A will help with the scholarship GPA requirement (3.30). The scholarship cohort will take a class with different speakers on Global Public Health issues while in Germany (no credit) and will blog and present a project while in Berlin. The director of the Bison Stem Scholars was on a Podcast where he listed cohort 2’s stats (3.8 GPA, 1371 SAT avg., 30 ACT avg.). That Podcast is a good listen for anyone interested in the program as you can hear about the process and what they are looking for in Bison STEM Scholars (you can find the link on the Facebook page). There have been some challenges (last minute logistical issues with housing along with normal growing pains for a young upstart Scholars Program), but the growth I have seen with my daughter along with the family-like atmosphere of the BSSP outweigh any negatives.

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Sounds wonderful. Those phone restrictions are more than workable (More of an issue for her than for me). Even the study halls aren’t likely to bother her - it’s not that different from CTY’s summer programs. And thanks for the heads up of the podcast - will be sure to look for it.

Aside from the housing issues, how has administration been? I assume the program staff are more on top of things than the admissions office?

The program staff has been great (maybe a tad understaffed as they will keep having to build up as more cohorts arrive on campus) and the director of the program has been fantastic. The director of the program wants results (PhD and MD/PhD students coming through the BSSP pipeline, but you can see how much he cares about the kids in this program). Some of the bureaucracy that we would normally have to deal with at Howard as a student/parent tandem has been handled directly by the program staff. This scholars program seems important from a promotional standpoint to the administration (found pictures of the school president inviting cohort 1 to his home for lunch, meeting with them during a study session, and interviewing 2 scholars for a radio program), but my daughter has not had much direct interaction with administration at this point (besides the Provost being a part of the cohort 2’s closing ceremony for the summer program). My own perspective so far is that the BSSP is starting to build its “brand” on campus with administration, but does not quite have the clout that it will have once they start producing “academic superstars” on the national/international stage for the University. The housing issues were definitely not on the BSSP program staff from my perspective (do better Office of Residence Life) but it will cause an extra trip up to DC to get our daughter moved into her dorm for the fall. But when I look at the amount of her scholarship just this school year (~ 9K for the summer session, ~45K for year 1, and no telling how much for the two week trip to Germany), I have decided to count my blessings and not complain at all.

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I’m interested in Howard’s duel degree program, specifically there Combined BS/MD program. I was wondering if anyone had information on the program or current students who could offer their insight about the program, it’s application process, and what it’s like to be in the program.

@“HUBS/MD” There are a couple of threads on Howard’s BS/MD program. The 1st one has a lot of good information from students who are/were in the program if you go through the entire thread. Most of the information is still good (besides the scholarship requirements). I also attached a recent thread from another perspective applicant.

Thanks so much for the info. It really helps!

Update: Now that my daughter has been home for a few weeks for Winter Break, I wanted to give an update on her journey through Howard and the Bison Stem Scholars Program (BSSP). 1st Semester has been an a good one for my daughter (4.0 GPA) along with declaring a Chemistry Major and Biology and Math Double Minor. The early exposure to Howard from the summer taught my daughter to look out for opportunities, and she was able to get into a research lab (while getting paid) for next semester. My daughter has also been able to become a peer tutor in General Chemistry and join a couple of clubs. Washington D.C. has some danger involved (she never walks anywhere alone at night), but she loves the city, the easy of travel by metro, and the many opportunities that are available. The Bison Stem Cohort #2 has supported each other by studying together and still had meetings with the administration (including one with President Frederick), group gatherings (both official and unofficial), supplement learning (seminars), and individual and small group meetings with the scholarship director. The Bison Stem Scholars are also required to apply to at least 7 Research based summer programs for the summer of 2019. The students will will also start gearing up for the 3rd Cohort Bison STEM Scholars Selection Weekend in March (they have a mixer and help with the panel interviews of the BSSP Finalists) and the minimum standardized testing criteria has risen to apply (600 SAT Math, 1250 SAT or 26 ACT). Students who meet the requirements of the scholarship still have time to apply (deadline January 30th). The students from year 1 of the scholarship cohort have had some amazing summer research opportunities, have become already become student leaders at Howard and have been good mentors for my daughter’s cohort.