There is a significant underrepresentation of biomedical and behavioral researchers (BBR) from minority and underserved communities. This disparity limits innovation and application of research to address needs of underserved communities. Youth from such communities often lack BBR role models and advocates, may not envision a BBR career, pursue BBR -learning opportunities, and develop the attitudes and skills needed to successfully pursue such a career. In an underserved community, this project aims to: 1) Refine the "Climbing Up and Reaching Back (CURB)" BBR scientist exposure, mentoring, and internship modules, student survey, and facilitator-administered process evaluation, 2) Conduct a qualitative examination of high school students'(a) education and career aspirations, (b) motivations (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, self-efficacy) for aspirations, (d) challenges related to aspirations, and (e) influences on aspirations from 10th through the 12th grade , 3) Examine the characteristics associated with high achieving high school students pursuing BBR, and 4) Assess whether a Patriots Technology Center (PTC) membership plus National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) publications (PTC+NIGMS) condition is less likely than a PTC+NIGMS+CURB condition to facilitate motivation for a BBR career, as well as pursuit of a BBR college education. The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center, Maryland Institute for Minority Achievement and Urban Education, and the Patriots Technology Training Center have partnered to reach the study aims. After a program refinement study phase, eight high schools will be randomly assigned;four to the PTC+NIGMS ("control" and four to the PTC+NIGMS+CURB ("intervention') condition. High achieving 10th-grade student volunteers (60 from the intervention and 60 from control schools) will be surveyed at baseline and after six subsequent semester periods to assess motivation for BBR, and pursuit of a BBR college education. The intervention condition will offer CURB consisting of three components: 10th grade BBR career exposures, 11th grade college BBR mentoring, and 12th grade BBR internships. Intervention is aimed at Social Cognitive Theory and Theory of Planned Behavior motivations framed by the idea that BBR scientists can encourage graduate students to encourage undergraduate students to encourage high school students such that students up the BBR ladder support others to climb the BBR ladder. This model could be widely generalizable in community-university partnerships to help undeserved communities.
This project will help to clarify the decision-making processes regarding college education and career choice of high achieving high school students in underserved communities. It will also pilot-test a model mentoring support system for preparing such students for biomedical/behavior research college education. The model is based on a University- Community Based Organization-High School partnership generalizable to other University-Community partnerships.
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