Leibowitz, Michael J. Abstract This proposal is for renewal of an Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Award, which supports the UMDNJ-Rutgers University Pipeline Program, which aims to increase the training and graduation of underrepresented minority (URM) Ph.D. biomedical scientists. This IMSD is based in the Molecular Biosciences Graduate Programs umbrella (MBS), and has supported 73 graduate students over the past 12 years, 30 of whom have received the Ph.D. and gone on to scientific careers or further training, with 25 more still in training here and 2 in other institutions. This IMSD has been the catalyst for increasing the number of Ph.D. candidates in the MBS programs (currently 50), and renewal of this grant and the growth of complementary Bridge to the Doctorate and institutional programs will increase that number. In the previous funding period, the attrition rate among IMSD trainees was only 5%, and we hope to maintain or improve that record. Since the inception of the IMSD, the attrition rate of URM candidates in the MBS programs has been below that of the overall student population, indicating program success. Support services for IMSD trainees include cognitive skills evaluation and training, a student tutoring program, student wellness program, flexible curriculum, flexibility in disciplinary selection, an active Biosciences Graduate Student Association and a supportive group of faculty mentors. A new required Quantitative Problems course helps to prepare trainees for science careers. This school is committed to continuous support of all graduate students through award of the Ph.D., and all IMSD trainees in good standing have had such support after IMSD funding, including many who have won individual NIH or NSF fellowships or have been supported by training or research grants. In the next period we propose to add a required scientific writing course and a laboratory exercise in genomic analysis (which will be part of an existing course). Evaluation has suggested that success of our program is based, in part, on identification by the trainees as biomedical scientists as part of the MBS programs rather than as somehow separated as part of a program specific for URM trainees. Evaluation is planned to study how social identity, social support and self-efficacy are impacted by program components and contribute to overall success of trainees.
Leibowitz, Michael J. Narrative This application for renewal of an Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Award is to support the training of graduate students from diverse backgrounds with the goal of increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in biomedical research careers. The program includes multiple support mechanisms to promote the success of trainees, including salary and tuition for research training, academic training to develop necessary skills, development of study and time management skills and promotion of trainee identity as scientists. Based on evaluation of the program, successful components are being continued and new components are being added, including a new required course in scientific writing and a laboratory exercise in computerized genomic analysis. It is anticipated that the large number of minority trainees on this campus will increase, as will their rate of success in obtaining the Ph.D. and entering scientific careers, with a targeted success rate of over 90%.
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