The summer program proposed in this grant application will introduce undergraduate students to the field of environmental health sciences as part of the existing Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Rutgers University. The purpose of SURF is to provide undergraduates with 10-week basic science and translational research experiences in preparation for careers in biomedical research. Since its inception, SURF has provided 30 undergraduates with summer research experiences and this proposal will establish an additional 10 fellowships for students to conduct research in toxicology and environmental sciences. Strong applications from talented students will be identified by scholastic achievement, letters of recommendation, and compelling personal statements. Recruitment strategies have been designed to attract students from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds into the fellowship program. Under the guidance and instruction of NIH-funded investigators, SURF students will conduct hands-on research projects in laboratories focused on environmental health sciences. Students will meet with mentors weekly to receive one-on-one training, ensure continued development of research skills, and evaluate progress of scientific projects. This program draws upon the resources, infrastructure, and expertise of faculty at Rutgers University and UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School who are members of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, and part of our joint NIEHS T32 training grant and NIEHS Center for Environmental Exposures and Disease. Students will also participate in weekly seminars and workshops on the topics of career development, responsible conduct of research, and environmental research. In addition, students will discuss topics "in the news" that are related to environmental exposures, which will promote overall science literacy. They will also tour core facilities established as part of the NIEHS Center and be instructed in state-of- the-art technology for biomedical research. Students will make a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation of their research at the end of the summer. The SURF Directors and Project Managers have developed an evaluation plan to ensure the continued development and improvement of the fellowship program over subsequent years. Public Health Relevance: The structured hands-on research, didactic, and career activities in this proposal are designed to encourage and prepare undergraduate students for graduate and professional education in environmental health sciences.
The structured hands-on research, didactic, and career activities in this proposal are designed to encourage and prepare undergraduate students for graduate and professional education in environmental health sciences.