The RISE program continues to transform the academic environment at UPR-Cayey (UPRC) by focusing on the preparation of students to become scientists. As part of this long term goal of increasing the number of Hispanics studying for the Ph.D., this proposal is concentrating on helping students in four areas; i) their lack of awareness of career opportunities in biomedical research and of their own potential for it; ii) their limited research skills and experience; iii) limited quantitative and analytical skills; and v) inadequate learning skills. These were identified as critical areas needing assistance and individual program components (5) have been designed to address these needs: Research Seminars and Workshops (RSW), Undergraduate Research Experiences (URE), Guided Discovery Chemistry (GDC), Quantitative and Spatial Analysis skills (QSS) and, Freshmen Research Skills (FRS). The implementation of each component will be monitored by an external evaluator working with the activity coordinators, program director, and the RISE Advisory Committee. In the RSW component, the visiting alumni scientists will offer seminars and workshops to improve attendees' awareness of new techniques and discover science careers, and to serve as role models. An improvement in the research skills of motivated students will be accomplished during their first year by having them participate in activities related to research techniques and scientific literacy. RISE students will take Discovery Chemistry (GDC) to enhance their learning skills based on observation, interpretation, and drawing of conclusions, rather than memorization. URE activities for 14 students will be offered during the academic year in Puerto Rico with active investigators at UPRC and four collaborating institutions. Additional research experiences will be offered to over 12 students during summer internships at 20 collaborating institutions in the USA. The students will be able to develop their mathematical and reasoning skills in scientific context by attending the workshops offered under the QSS component. It will also help them improve their visual communication skills. In addition, the activities designed under the program will have a positive impact on curriculum development and faculty training in new teaching methods that have been found to be effective in reducing attrition rates. Each component enables students to develop their potential by interacting with a different group of experts: 1) research skills with faculty mentors; 2) motivational seminars by visiting alumni scientists; 3) inquiry methodology by chemistry faculty; 4) mathematical skills with the activity coordinator; and 5) research lab experience with either on-island research mentors or with off-island scientists located in the USA. Each of these activities will provide the students with an appropriate environment and interaction with experts in order to develop scientifically and become future biomedical researchers. During the last 5 years (2010-14), 32 RISE alumni completed Ph.D.'s from major research universities, a 100% increase over the previous five-year period. By doubling the number of Ph.D. alumni, RISE will impact the community. These UPRC scientists will serve to meet the health disparity needs of the Hispanic population in Puerto Rico and the nation by working to discover the causes and remedies of diseases.
The RISE program continues to transform the academic environment at UPR-Cayey by focusing on the preparation of students to become scientists. These UPRC scientists will serve to meet the health disparity needs of the Hispanic population in Puerto Rico and the nation by working to discover the causes and remedies of diseases.
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