Grambling State University (GSU), an HBCU, is primarily a teaching institution with limited research infrastructure and capabilities. However, part of the vision of the university is to produce graduates who "have acquired skills and knowledge in major academic disciplines that afford them the option of graduate or professional schools". The institution, therefore, fully supports efforts to increase the number of its graduates who enroll in, and successfully complete Ph.D. programs particularly in the sciences. The goal of this resubmission RISE renewal application is to increase the number of RISE participants who, upon graduation, directly pursue Ph.D. programs in biomedical sciences from the current baseline of 21% to 50% by the end of the project period. Accomplishment of this goal is feasible because of the foundation established during the first cycle, and the continued commitment of project faculty and the administration. Ten slots per year are requested. Eight student developmental activities are proposed. These activities were developed based on lessons learned from evaluation of the first RISE cycle, feedback from faculty, current and former RISE participants. For example, four new activities not included in the current cycle, were added to address identified needs to (1) improve written and oral communication skills;(2) improve mathematical knowledge and skills of STEM majors;(3) apply mathematical concepts and quantitative methods in biomedical sciences, and (4) decrease attrition rate of STEM students from the current average rate of 58% (over a five year period) to 38% by the end of the project period. Additional activities include (5) implementation of rigorous math and science curricula for RISE students to include advanced and independent study courses that enhance critical and analytical skills, research seminars, and Ethics in Scientific research;(6) a support system that increases students'interest and success in math and sciences;(7) research training that starts with the classroom research environment to acquire basic skills at GSU followed by summer research internships at partner research intensive universities;and (8) a plan for RISE and pre-RISE students to apply to, and secure admissions to Ph.D. programs in biomedical sciences. The proposed evaluation plan links quantitative indicators of success to specific measurable objectives for each activity, and also provides plans for qualitative and quantitative assessment of major program components to facilitate the assessment of overall institutional impact of the RISE program at GSU. It is feasible to implement the proposed eight activities because of the commitment of faculty, GSU administration, and collaborating extramural research preceptors. Successful implementation of the proposed activities will meet the needs of the participating departments, support the mission and vision of GSU, and fulfill the expectation of the MORE Division.
The proposed RISE project at Grambling State University (GSU) is relevant to the mission of the National Institutes of Health addressing public health issues through research and education. This relevance is reflected by the fact that the RISE project trains underrepresented students as well as groups of persons disproportionately affected by health disparities. The purpose of the proposed renewal project is to train underrepresented students to be competitive for admission to Ph.D. programs in biomedical sciences directly upon their graduation from GSU.
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