The Iowa Biosciences Advantage (IBA) is the University of Iowa's Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) program. The IBA's goal is to identify academically talented undergraduate underrepresented minority students with aspirations for a research career and provide them with first-rate training that will facilitate their entry into doctoral programs in the biomedical, behavioral, and biophysical sciences. Since the last renewal, the IBA program has implemented successful initiatives to facilitate students'transition in college. IBA students conduct year-round mentored research in productive laboratories and gain extensive professional development to aid their competitiveness and progression into graduate school. Since 2003, the percentage of IBA graduates matriculating into doctorate programs has increased from 0% to 11%. Still, the proportion of students who are Ph.D. bound remains low. The main difficulty lies in the identification of high school and undergraduate students with aspirations for careers in research versus the health professions. In the proposed project period we will focus on improving the selection of candidates for bioscience research careers while enhancing the aspects of our program proven successful by comprehensive evaluation.
In specific aim 1, IBA will work with current University of Iowa programs to outreach to high schools, community colleges, and current undergraduates. The IBA will execute a Candidate/Scholar two-tier program. New students will be Candidates and gain research experience via laboratory rotations. Scholar status will be awarded competitively to those students in good research and academic standing who intend to pursue doctorate programs upon graduation. With this new system, we will identify students who are research oriented.
Specific aim 2 will build on IBA's current successful four-year comprehensive student development curriculum by adding new topics to facilitate matriculation at the University of Iowa and admission to doctoral programs nationally.
Specific aim 3 will foster students'career development related specifically to graduate education, research careers, and academia by providing mentored research, partnering with T32 training programs, offering specialized courses to develop students'understanding of the life of a biomedical researcher, offering individualized career planning, and providing opportunities for Scholars to present their research. The last aim will be to facilitate effective mentoring relationships between students and faculty by developing and providing guidelines for IMSD mentors to utilize in the progression of IBA scholars toward the Ph.D. Utilizing faculty and staff expertise in outreach, selection, first-year college experience, student development, career development, graduate education, research funding and responsible conduct of research, mentoring, and evaluation, the IBA will benchmark success with at least 60% of IBA graduates going directly into doctoral programs. The University of Iowa Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) is an undergraduate program that contributes to the national effort of increasing the numbers of underrepresented minority faculty, investigators and students engaged in biomedical and behavioral research. The program introduces participants to research as early as their first year of college and matches them with faculty research mentors to conduct research throughout their undergraduate tenure. This program provides ongoing and intense academic and research support in an effort to increase the likelihood and rate of matriculation among underrepresented minorities to doctoral research programs.
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