The faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences as a whole and the Clinical Science Area in particular encourage and support underrepresented groups in science.

As a Program, we are committed to attracting and retaining students from diverse racial, ethnic, and personal backgrounds. Members of underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

We strive to foster a climate that is attractive to a diverse group of students. Faculty and the department have developed mentoring partnerships with several different organizations to increase the number of underrepresented minority students in science. These include:

  1. The McNair program, which supports undergraduate students working in research labs in the summer.
  2. Collaborating with IU’s Northwest regional campus in Gary, IN, for IUNW students to come to the Bloomington campus to spend 8 weeks in faculty labs.
  3. NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Animal Behavior, a summer research program targeting underrepresented minority students.
  4. Funding from the department and the Indiana Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) for a full-time summer minority enhancement research program for high school students, housed in the Department and directed by Dr. Sharlene Newman.
  5. University Graduate School’s “Getting You Into IU (GU2IU)” each October (, providing students from diverse background the opportunity to visit the department and meet faculty before submitting their applications.
  6. Supporting NIH’s “Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity” (IMSD) program to increase the number of underrepresented minority scientists entering careers in biomedical research.


Two of our current graduate students in the Department applied to IU because of the McNair and IMSD programs.


Student Retention:

Once students are here, we offer them various avenues of support. For example, our department’s Diversity Advancement & Minority Affairs Committee (the current chair is Dr. Mary Murphy) has lunches several times a semester. The Department also has a standing committee (Minority Students) whose charge is to increase recruitment and retention, as well as to develop mentoring and career development opportunities for minority students.


We have developed specific mechanisms to provide academic and career support for diverse students. The university has several graduate fellowships for students with diverse backgrounds, and several students in our Department have been awarded these highly competitive fellowships. Furthermore, several of the NIH training grants in the Department have funding lines specifically for underrepresented minority students. Faculty also contribute to the Heller Fund, which provides underrepresented 1st – 4th year graduate students in our Department summer research fellowships, which releases students from summer teaching duties. Faculty members also encourage and support underrepresented students to apply for F31 NRSA (NIH predoctoral fellowships to promote diversity) and Ford Fellowships. In fact, two clinical graduate students received these prestigious awards in 2014.

In sum, the Department and Clinical Area are actively engaged in activities to attract and support students from diverse backgrounds.

Students also have the opportunity during their training experiences to work with a diverse client population. Clients in the in-house practicums include both student and community members, which results in a client population of diverse socio-economic status and sexual orientation. For the external practicums students see clients at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis, which is city that is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, country of origin, language, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.  Based on 2010 census data the population of Indianapolis is 61.8% white, 27.5% black, 9.4% Hispanic/Latino and 2.1% Asian. Adult and child patients are typically drawn from all over the state of Indiana, including urban and rural settings.