The long-term goal of this project is to establish a formal program between Towson University (TU) and the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) that will enhance transfer and retention of minority students to the completion of their B.S. degree in an area that will allow them to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences. BCCC is an open access, two- year, state-sponsored institution with a majority of students who are Baltimore City residents (80%), African-American (81%), and female (73%). CCBC is also an open access, two-year, state-sponsored institution and provides additional diversity in the program from a gender perspective (CCBC 42% male), an underrepresented student perspective (CCBC includes both African American and Hispanic students- 40%), and from a geographic perspective (to include Baltimore County). TU is a four-year comprehensive state-sponsored university. Currently at TU the student population is comprised of 14,495 undergraduates and 3516 graduate students. TU admits approximately 1500 transfer students a year. The graduation rate (in six years) is 60%, which is above the national average of 51.9% (Center for Educational Statistics). TU has a minority population of 13.4%, but is trying to increase that number with initiatives to increase diversity at TU, which is part of the mission statement for the university. The Department of Biological Sciences is already improving its diversity with a minority population of 21%.
The specific aims of this program are to: (i) continue recruitment efforts at BCCC and CCBC to increase program awareness and increase the pool of qualified students at community college partner institutions;(ii) continue to increase program awareness at TU to create a supportive institutional climate for Bridges students;(iii) provide an active and supportive academic program for students (including tutoring, peer mentoring, summer research experiences, faculty advising teams for each student, and annual evaluations of the program by a program evaluator);and, (iv) provide students with the skills and capacity required to succeed at TU and post-graduate education and careers. Each cohort of students will be carefully advised academically so that they enter TU with true junior status by completing many of the Chemistry, Mathematic and Biology core courses, as well as, most of the General Education requirements as prescribed in formal articulation agreements. Since the past competitive renewal we have had a transfer rate of 63%, which was above our target of 50% and well above the average of 23% for Bridges Programs (Mervis, 2006). The renewal of our Bridges program will allow us to continue the successful transfer of BCCC and CCBC students to four-year institutions and provide us with an opportunity to increase our database to be able to disseminate what we have learned supported by quantitative data. Increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who successfully transfer from a community college to a four-year institution to receive a B.S. in an area of biomedical science increases the numbers of those students that might go on to receive a Ph.D. and pursue a career in biomedical research. This is of critical importance as the number of underrepresented minorities continues to grow, the need to have all capable and eligible individuals participating biomedical research that are sensitive to health disparities in their communities will be of great benefit to society. This program has successfully transferred 63% of program participants to a four-year institution and in the past granting period two have already graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMM-A (50))
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Hamlet, Michelle R
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Towson University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Pflaum, Katherine; Gerdes, Kimberly; Yovo, Kossi et al. (2012) Lipopolysaccharide induction of autophagy is associated with enhanced bactericidal activity in Dictyostelium discoideum. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 422:417-22