This is the result of years of dedication to the focus of STEM. In 1977, XULA academia recognized a problem-solving and test-taking gap minority students showed when they arrived in college. The curriculum requirements and the way the students were taught changed to ensure XULA students learned better analytical reasoning.
“Medical education can be compared to soil. Every individual has the potential to succeed with unlimited development, just like a plant has unlimited potential to grow. But it helps to have a good foundation, a good soil, to get you there,” said Morehouse College Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Xavier alumnus Dr. Roland Pattillo. ”The seed and the soil is an analogy that can be applied to Xavier University. The soil is the depth of education Xavier offers.” Dr. Pattillo credits his research skills learned at XULA with helping him develop a vaccine for the human papillomavirus.
XULA also offers summer bridge programs dedicated to instilling a solid understanding of STEM skills for incoming freshman. According to Dr. Francis, these programs provide a powerful recruiting tool for XULA and give under-served minority students an advantage in pursuing a STEM career. Once students arrive at XULA they receive preparation not available in many other universities. Drill sessions, peer mentoring, teacher mentoring, and counseling prepare them to succeed in the STEM profession.
“When we started the summer programs for high school students, we were unique in what was being done at other universities. Our success shows in the number of students who graduated from medical schools across the country, and in the percentage of former students employed in a STEM-related field,” said Francis.