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MSI Richmond

The Math Science Investigators Program (MSI) is a pipeline program to increase the number of students pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. MSI is a joint partnership of the University of Richmond, Richmond Public Schools and the Altria Group.

The MSI program is offered to rising tenth grade students from Richmond Public Schools who are interested in STEM.

The five-week, non-residential program seeks to:

  • Expose middle and high school students to STEM career fields through interactive courses, hands-on activities and discovery-based experiences
  • Instill confidence and persistence to pursue a STEM career
  • Provide students an academic learning experience in a college setting with an undergraduate research mentor


All participants will engage in a five-week intensive research project. The MSI Program research theme this year is “Mapping the Ecology of the James River Rock Pools.” All the projects will involve sampling aquatic insect communities in rock pool habitats along the James River and mapping the spatial distribution of these habitats using Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) technology.

Student participants must be comfortable spending time outdoors studying the environment of the James River, as well as using a microscope to examine aquatic insects. Training and mentorship will be provided in all aspects of the project. A willingness to be outside and think about ecological research questions are the only skills needed to apply.


Transportation, lunch and all program materials will be provided. Commitment to full attendance, including an orientation session and closing event, is required to participate.


For consideration to the program, RPS students must complete a full application, submit supplemental materials including two letters of recommendation from math and science teachers, an official school transcript and an interview.

Preference will be given to highly-qualified students with a strong interest in STEM, but the program is open to all applicants.


Students selected to participate in the program will engage in a five-week intensive research component, where students will be paired with a faculty member and assigned an undergraduate mentor to work on a scientific research project.

Application Materials

RPS Student Application Materials

MSI is open to Richmond Public Schools (RPS) rising tenth grade students interested in STEM subjects, fields, and careers. Review Admissions Criteria for more details.

A completed application packet requires submitting several application forms and having official school transcript submitted to the program director:

All application materials are due April 7, 2017.

Materials may be submitted by mail, email or fax:

University of Richmond
Math Science Investigators (MSI) Program
Attn: Dr. David Kitchen
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173


Fax: (804) 289-8138

UR Undergraduate Mentor Application Materials
Mentorship Overview

Being an MSI Mentors is an exciting opportunity for students looking to conduct scientific research during the summer to work with and mentor rising 10th graders from Richmond Public Schools interested in math and science. The high school students selected to work with MSI mentors are high achievers dedicated to their studies who have gone through a highly selective admissions process. 

MSI Mentorship Goals

  • To support University of Richmond students in their pursuit of independent scholarship and research while encouraging the next generation of Richmond scholars.
  • To support the academic and career interests of Richmond Public high school students in math and science. As a mentor, you will be asked to incorporate two MSI students into your research, providing them with hands-on learning experience conducting professional research.

MSI Mentor Expectations

  • Provide hands-on opportunities for students to contribute to your research project;
  • Encourage to the fullest extent success in academics and personal development;
  • Help students establish goals and career options;
  • Work toward understanding each student's aspirations for the future;
  • Encourage responsible behavior;
  • Help students foster a positive self-image;
  • Be an advocate to support The Richmond Promise.

MSI Mentor Requirements

Mentors will be granted 10 weeks throughout the summer to conduct research. During five of those weeks mentors will incorporate two MSI high school students into their research.

MSI Mentors will be expected to attend MSI Staff Development Workshops.

Mentor research projects must be sponsored by a UR faculty member in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and/or the math and computer science departments. Sponsoring UR faculty information will be gathered in the UR Faculty Mentor Recommendation form.

Mentors will be required to attend the MSI Town Hall Meeting and the MSI Induction Dinner.

Application Forms

MSI Mentorship is open to UR undergraduate students conducting UR faculty-sponsored research projects in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and/or the math and computer science departments.

A completed application packet requires submitting 2 separate application forms:

All application materials are due Apeil 7, 2017.

Materials may be submitted by campus mail, email or fax:

Dr. David Kitchen
Math Science Investigators (MSI) Program


Fax: (804) 289-8138

MSI Program

ATTN: Dr. David Kitchen
Phone: (804) 289-8133
Fax: (804) 289-8133

University of Richmond
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173

Belle Isle Rock Pools by James Vonesh (used with permission)