For more than 17 years, Dr. Paulinus Chigbu has operated with the firm belief that academic instruction should not begin, and end, in the classroom. From that principled conviction, he has immersed his mentees in STEM research experiences and encouraged their participation in tutorial sessions, peer mentoring, summer internships, and scientific conferences and meetings. Of course, Chigbu's background as a marine scientist provides the perfect platform to excite his students.
The programs he has established and coordinated have influenced in a positive way more than 800 students (overwhelmingly from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in STEM) in the middle and high school grades through undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels. More than 30 undergraduate and graduate students have benefitted from his personal supervision in research activities ( all of them earning undergraduate or graduate degrees in their respective STEM fields). His major program developments include:
Interns in Biomolecular Sciences at Jackson State University (2000 - 2005). This multi-institutional project, funded by the Office of Naval Research to train undergraduates in the biomolecular sciences, includes Texas A&M International University, Saint Mary's University, Jackson State University and Texas A&M University.
NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (2006 - present). At this multi-institutional Center under the directorship of Chigbu, eight institutions are focus sites for exemplary academic and research collaborations to engage students (particularly those belonging to underrepresented minority groups) and prepare them for careers in marine and fisheries sciences. Since 2006, more than 500 students have benefited from rigorous programs offered through the Center. In 2010, the Center established a unique professional science master's degree program, Quantitative Fisheries and Resource Economics.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in marine and estuarine science (2009 - present.) Dr. Chigbu established the first 10-week NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in order to train students in marine and environmental science. He has served as its Director since its inception. Sixty-three students have participated in the program since it began; 39 are still enrolled as undergraduates; 24 have completed B.S. degrees of whom 12 have subsequently completed or are currently enrolled in graduate school.
Dr. Chigbu is a member of the National Sea Grant Advisory Board and is a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1987.