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College-Sponsored Conference Encourages Minority Ph.D.s

The Ivy League colleges and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are co-sponsoring a conference intended to increase the number of minority students enrolled in Ph.D. programs on October 13 at the Kennedy school of Government, Suzanne M. Lipsky, director of student affairs, said yesterday.

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The third annual conference on "Opportunities for Minority students in Graduate Education: Arts, Sciences and Engineering" will be an afternoon of workshops on career possibilities, financial aid resources, Ph.D. program prerequisites and recommended schools for specific fields.

A specific workshop for placement officers and minority counselors will also be offered.

Misunderstood

There is a great imbalance between the number of minorities applying to professional graduate programs and the number applying to Ph.D. programs, Lipsky said. "Ph.D. degrees are not well understood." she added.

Ann E.W. Star, conference project director, said yesterday professional graduate studies are less contingent upon previous academic experience than Ph.D. programs. Students have to prepare for Ph.D. programs, she said, adding, "They don't even know these programs exist."

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Faculty and graduate students, as well as outside professionals, have volunteered to speak and answer questions at the conference. Although organizers expect over 500 people, Star said, its approach will be as individual as we can muster."

The organizers of the conference also attempted to reach a non-college audience by distributing posters to public libraries, unemployment offices and other accessible locations to inform people with varying levels of academic experience of its existence.

The individual colleges contributed to sponsor the conference in previous years. A grant from the Fund for the Improvement for Post-Secondary Education from the U.S. Department of Education will make three conferences, in Cambridge, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, possible this year.

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