Combating Brain-Drain

Stacy O'Reilly, Butler University
Dawn Anderson, Berea College
Chris Dunlap, Saint Mary's College
John Emert, Ball State University
Norma Dávila, University of Puerto Rico


Undergraduate STEM majors in Midwest US schools are increasingly lured out of state upon graduation. This proposal would help further dialogue among STEM students, faculty, and employers in the Kentucky-Indiana region. Beyond the typical recruitment fair, we hope to provide the opportunities for employers speak with regard to the general skills and abilities they are looking for-collaborative work, technology savvy, e.g.-as well specific STEM skills they need. Such dialogue would provide our students the opportunity to learn about progressive companies and their needs. Faculty-industry dialogues allow us to cultivate internship opportunities and adapt programs to reflect industry needs.

There have been isolated activities to encourage such communications in the past among our region's schools, and the occasional classroom or departmental visit from an industry friend certainly occurs. We propose to move such efforts to a larger arena.

Butler University hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Conference each spring (Saturday 9am to 3pm) where students from a variety of disciplines come to present 15 minute talks on their work. Most of the participants are from the sciences, and even non-science majors would find elements of an industry dialogue of interest. The Conference charges a minimal registration fee of $20, which helps to defray the costs of a T-shirt and food.

We propose to sponsor an employer panel session to precede the student presentations, and include a light breakfast for those who attend. Typically 300 to 400 students attend this conference. With additional advertising efforts, we believe that at least 350 STEM students and their faculty would come for this panel discussion.

We can use Lilly Foundation funds to supplement the budget for the panel session and breakfast. Assuming it becomes a popular feature of the Conference, we would anticipate sponsorship of the reception by participating employers.



Advertising: Flyers developed, distributed at Midwest colleges


Breakfast for 350 participants @ $8/person


Lilly Foundation funds (anticipated)


Total requested (for Spring 2003)


Total budget not to exceed $2,000 in the first year and $1,000 in the second year