Edwin T. Harper Scholar's program

The Edwin T. Harper Scholar's Program

The Edwin T. Harper Scholar's program is named in honor of Dr. Edwin T. Harper, an emeritus faculty member from the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department in the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Dr. Harper completed his B.A. at Grinnell College in Iowa and received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.  In 1989, he was named a Black Achiever in Science by Addison-Wesley Science.  Dr. Harper received the IU Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award in 1997.  Dr. Harper devoted much of his career to increasing minority participation in scientific research and graduate education.  Since 1977, he has served on a number of national panels, including the American Chemical Society Committee on Project SEED, which he chaired from 1986-89, the First Gordon Conference on Science Education, and review panels for NSF minority graduate fellowships and Howard Hughes Biomedical Institute fellowships. For many years, he chaired the Project SEED Committee for the American Chemical Society, Indiana Section, which introduces economically disadvantaged high school students to scientific research through academic and industrial summer research projects.  In 1986, he was a founding Vice President of the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, which recruits local African-American junior high and high school students into science fair teams that have won several national championships.   Since his retirement in 2000, he is enjoying traveling around the world.  Dr. Robert Harris, former Chairman of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, said of Dr. Harper: "Ed Harper is the reason we now have a very successful MSMS program on our campus.  I appreciate the fact that that throughout his tenure with us he did more than any other person to champion support for disadvantaged students."  

The program, funded by the NIH/NIGMS grant, 1R25 GM079657, Indiana University Initiative for Maximizing Graduate Student Diversity, is designed to provide two-year graduate school funding for under-represented minority students in the basic science departments in the School of Medicine.  It was initially funded February 1, 2007 with Hal Broxmeyer as the PI and was an outgrowth of the Bridges to the Doctorate award.  The program is guided by an advisory committee including Drs. Randy Brutkiewicz (PI) and Hal Broxmeyer (Co-PI), Mark Goebl, Bart Ng, Sherry Queener, Simon Rhodes, Pat Treadwell, David Wilkes, Uday Sukhatme, and the basic science department Chairmen (Drs. Spinola, Jones, Cornetta, Zhang, Vasko, Sturek, Eble).  The external reviewer is Dr. Julie Foertsch, President of Leading Edge Evaluation & Consulting. The long-term goal of this program is to increase the number of under-represented students completing their doctorate in the Basic Science programs of the School of Medicine.

The students selected in this program must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents.  The grant will provide stipends, health insurance and fees for two years to six students.  In addition, it will provide funding for some laboratory supplies and the opportunity to present their research at a national meeting.  Each scholar is expected to seek extramural grant funding to cover their education before the expiration of their Harper support.  The program also provides some other unique opportunities:  funding to attend the annual Business Ethics Training Luncheon and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner.  It provides funding for approximately six under-represented ethnic minority scientists with a national/international reputation to serve as a role model for them by presentation of a seminar, meeting with the scholars (and other minority students) for lunch.  Another aspect of the program is the amount of multi-tiered mentoring within the program.  Not only will they meet with external minority faculty, but various IU faculty will meet with them on a regular, ongoing basis.  The Harper Scholars will be paired up with Bridges to the Doctorate students in the summer, connecting our minority "pipeline".  They will be provided tutoring, if needed.  This program will also provide funding for our annual Minority Mentoring Symposium, previously funded for two years by INGEN (Eli Lilly and Co.).  This workshop is attended by faculty, students and staff from all over IUPUI.

The Edwin T. Harper Visiting Professor Seminar Series

Goals of this series:

1. Showcase researchers from underrepresented groups, providing a forum on how they contribute to science by their research, teaching and grant applications.
2. Encourage current graduate students and researchers from underrepresented backgrounds to excel in research and give back to their community.
3. Successful scientists from diverse backgrounds serve as role models for underrepresented students, promote recruitment into scientific research and demonstrate how research can bring benefits to their communities.

For information contact:  Dr. Randy Brutkiewicz, Program Director, 317-274-7589,

Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506