With a student population exceeding 39,000, El Paso Community College (EPCC) is the largest Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) located on the US-Mexico border, the fastest growing community college in the U.S, and the largest grantor of Associate degrees to Hispanic students in the Nation. In the 2011 academic year, 29,901 students enrolled in RISE-relevant courses across EPCC's five campuses. This student population (88% underrepresented) is already interested in health issues that affect the US-Mexico border region where health disparities are extreme. EPCC has been a pioneer in getting students interested in biomedical research and in entering the Ph.D. pipeline. EPCC was the first community college to be funded by the MBRS-RISE Program in 2000. It has been consistently shown that students participating in RISE activities outperform non participants in retention, graduation and progression to the next educational level. The ultimate goal is to develop EPCC to become the Number-One community college in terms of guiding minority and disadvantaged students into the Ph.D pipeline. The goals of EPCC's RISE to the Challenge Program are: 1) to continue providing talented EPCC students with the tools to succeed and excel in their freshman and sophomore-level math and science courses, 2) to continue strengthening the research knowledge and skills of the students and faculty with special emphasis in biomedical and behavioral research, and 3) to increase the number of minority and disadvantaged students that transfer to a four-year institution with the skills necessary to succeed in college and to complete the requirements for a Ph.D. The objectives are: 1) to enhance and enrich the Biology, Chemistry and Math curriculum with innovative instructional strategies, including Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Peer-led team learning (PLTL) using an investigative, multidisciplinary approach to improve student performance and develop student's higher learning skills, 2) to continue providing year-round meaningful research experiences for sophomores and select talented freshman, 3) to maintain our excellent track record of students participating and presenting at national professional meetings, 4) to increase the number of research publications by RISE student participants, 5) to continue providing students with intensive tutoring and advising, and 6) to strengthen the biomedical science learning community and support networks established previously. Because of its large minority enrollment, its focus on student success, and its research infrastructure, EPCC is in a unique position and is committed to reducing the gap in the number of students that complete the PhD degrees by feeding the pipeline of underrepresented students at the earliest stages in their education.
The US-Mexico Border Region faces unique environmental and health challenges and is one of the most medically underserved regions in the US. El Paso Community College (EPCC) is the largest community college located on the US-Mexico border and an institution that responds to the needs of the international community. EPCC's RISE to the Challenge Program will provide the resources to generate a cadre of biomedical researchers with a vested interest and the skills to conduct biomedical research and contribute to the improvement of the quality of life on the border and the health of the nation.
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