In 1989, MURAP began as an extension of the University of North Carolina’s Summer Pre-Graduate Research Experience (SPGRE), a program that sought to increase the number of underrepresented students gaining research experience and pursuing doctoral degrees in the natural sciences. MURAP was set up to target students in the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. In its initial years, the program began humbly with three students working under three UNC faculty mentors, always with a goal of addressing diversity within higher education. By 2005, the program expanded to include up to 22 students and 10 faculty mentors per year. With the generous continued support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Office of the Chancellor and of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, MURAP is now an independent program committed to the original purpose and goals.
In 2003, like MMUF, MURAP reaffirmed its commitment to addressing higher education and diversity, and the program also broadened its mission to include underrepresented students as well as others with a demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity. The name of the program was changed to the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program, symbolically connecting the program’s mission to the stellar scholarly achievements of Dr. Mignon Moore, our first PhD recipient.
Dr. Moore is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the at Barnard College, past director of Columbia’s MMUF program, and a MURAP alumna. Her educational and professional pursuits are a model of academic excellence and dedication to the academic diversity that MURAP strives to uphold for all of its student fellows.
MURAP aims to foster the entrance of students from underrepresented minority groups, as well as others with a proven commitment to diversity, into PhD programs and faculty positions in academia. More broadly, the program seeks to increase the number of minorities and others who demonstrate a commitment to eradicating racial disparities and who will pursue graduate work and faculty positions within the academy. MURAP aims to achieve its mission by identifying and supporting students of great promise and helping them to become scholars of the highest distinction.