The long-term goal of this program is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who successfully complete the transition from Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) or the Community Colleges of Baltimore County (CCBC) to completion of a Baccalaureate degree at Towson University (TU) (or another four year institution) and who then are competitive to pursue graduate education and/or pursue a career in the area of biomedical research. This renewal proposal seeks to build on the successes achieved from previous funding cycles and implement new strategies to empower and motivate participating minority students. We therefore plan to do the following: continue recruitment efforts at BCCC and CCBC to increase program awareness and increase the pool of qualified students attracted to the program;continue to devise strategies to increase program awareness at TU to create a supportive institutional climate for Bridges students;provide an active and supportive academic program for students;and provide students with the skills and capacity required to succeed at TU and in post-graduate education and careers. While building on these accomplishments this renewal aims to increase the number of participating students, increase the transfer rate from BCCC and CCBC to TU or other four-year colleges, expand on the number and types of research experiences, devise a more integrative approach for emersion into the primary literature and develop new collaborations that offer avenues for graduate and post graduate work in the biomedical sciences. These goals will be achieved through the building of support structures that foster student success. Advising teams composed of community college and TU mentors and the use of peer mentors will provide an extensive support network. We will implement strategies for early assessment and timely intervention to address the academic needs of participants through tutoring and mentoring. We have expanded the pool of research mentors to expand the opportunities available to participants and introduce them to a variety of research projects, and individuals engaged in biomedical research. We advocate that transformative experiences in the laboratory and exposure to individuals like themselves assures them that they can also be successful in these careers. We also propose to have students work collaboratively in the analysis and discussion of primary research articles and explore new opportunities for research and post graduate experiences beginning with the exploration of a partnership with Cornell University. Through these and other initiatives we seek to motivate students to complete undergraduate degrees in the biomedical sciences and pursue careers and graduate training in related fields. The result is a more diverse and talented workforce ensuring that our nation continues to lead in creativity and innovation.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project aims to empower underrepresented minorities through participation in transformative experiences that involve the establishment of academic support and research participation opportunities. This strategy will achieve increased retention and graduation of minority students with degrees in the biomedical sciences, preparing them for successful and productive careers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Education Projects (R25)
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Hamlet, Michelle R
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Towson University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Sanford, Jillian L; Barski, Sharon A; Seen, Christina M et al. (2014) Neurophysiological and behavioral responses of gypsy moth larvae to insect repellents: DEET, IR3535, and picaridin. PLoS One 9:e99924