The biomedical research workforce of America has become dangerously dependent on the import of foreign workers, and the continued globalization of world economies will only increase competition for these workers. Thus, our nation urgently needs to invest in its own youth if the U.S. wants to remain the world leader in technology, science, engineering and math (STEM). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) plays an important role in this investment. By 2025, more than 50% of all American high school students will be the children of today's American minorities - of those, 75% will be Hispanic. Currently only 50% of Hispanic students graduate with a high school diploma, compared to nearly 90% of White and/or Asian students, and this educational achievement gap persists at the college and post-graduate level. Barriers to success include cultural and socioeconomic disadvantages;public school systems without the resources to build on their students'potential;and lack of extracurricular educational learning opportunities that often are available to successful, motivated students from middle/upper class or private schools. The overall goal of the present proposal is to provide hands-on biomedical research training and career development to motivated underserved college students in order to stimulate their interest in a career in the sciences and/or academic medicine. We hypothesize that mentored research training and career development will improve scientific knowledge, strengthen student's academic self-efficacy beliefs, and create a personal career vision that motivates them to pursue a career in science or academic medicine. We will test this hypothesis with the following specific aims: recruit up to 25 minority and/or disadvantaged college students nationwide into a 10 week summer research program. provide mentored, hands-on research training in a research field of the student's choice that is relevant to the mission of National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). provide career development and expose students to careers in science and academic medicine. evaluate the outcomes of the program on the student's career choice.
The proposed program will provide a minimum of 20 but not more than 25 minority or disadvantaged undergraduate students recruited nationwide with a 10 week long summer research experience to perform mentored hands-on biomedical research in areas relevant to the mission of the NIDDK. Students will learn the scientific method, the fundamentals of laboratory research and they will produce written and oral scientific presentations of their research accomplishments. Professionals will provide in-depth career development and a comprehensive student evaluation shall determine the effectiveness of the program.