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The Leadership Alliance: Twenty Years of Developing a Diverse Research Workforce

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 89, No. 3

Medeva Ghee and Deborah Collins , Brown University

Valier Wilson , National Science Foundation

Willie Pearson, Jr., Georgia Institute of Technology


The Leadership Alliance is a national academic consortium currently comprising 32 academic institutions including Ivy League and major-research and minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For 2 decades these institutions have worked collaboratively to train, mentor, and support underrepresented minority students from undergraduate through advanced graduate training programs. Effectively bridging the research capacity of Ivy League and leading research institutions with minority talent at HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, the Alliance has leveraged its long-standing partnership to develop and implement the Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) and the Leadership Alliance National Symposium (LANS), proven programs for diversifying the pipeline of scholars. The objectives of this descriptive study are to demonstrate (a) the impact of these programs on student participants' undergraduate learning experience, and (b) the subsequent academic and career outcomes that occur for program participants. Discussion of the data sources and analysis approaches used in this study follow a description of the SR-EIP/LANS program participants. The outcome data demonstrate that the Alliance has become a nationally established pipeline program that successfully mentors underrepresented students along the entire academic pathway to produce scholars and researchers poised to contribute to a competitive 21st-century workforce.


Medeva Ghee, Ph.D. , is the Executive Director of the Leadership Alliance. Prior to this appointment, she worked with the Clinton Foundation as a Laboratory Systems Specialist for the HIV/AIDS Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa. With a doctoral degree in microbiology from NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Ghee conducted her postdoctoral research in Paris, France, focusing on biochemical and gene therapy technologies to investigate the impact of protein aggregation in Parkinson's disease.

Deborah Collins, Ph.D. , is Associate Director of the Leadership Alliance. Prior to joining the Alliance, Dr. Collins was Director of Research and Evaluation at the Education Alliance at Brown University, where she directed large-scale and program evaluations of school reform, choice, STEM, and partnership initiatives funded through the Northeast Regional Education Laboratory at Brown, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Microsoft Partners in Learning, and regional/state agencies.

Valerie Wilson, Ph.D. , is the Deputy Division Director for Graduate Education. Prior to her position at the National Science Foundation, Wilson was Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity and Clinical Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice at Brown University. Concurrently, she served as Executive Director of the Leadership Alliance, a consortium of leading teaching and research institutions dedicated to preparing underrepresented students for careers in academia and public and private sectors. 

Willie Pearson, Jr., Ph.D. , is a professor of sociology in the School of History, Technology, and Society at Georgia Institute of Technology. He specializes in the sociology of science and sociology of the family. He is the author or coeditor of eight books and monographs and numerous articles and chapters. Currently, he serves on advisory committees at the National Science Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the White House.