The proposed Bridges to the Doctorate in Reproductive Biology (BDRB) program creates a partnership between Texas A&M University (applicant institution) and two minority-serving institutions, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Prairie View A&M University, to transition underrepresented students to the doctoral program in Reproductive Physiology in the Animal Science department. Specific goals of the program are: Goal 1: Recruit potential BDRB students by creating opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate students from the minority-serving institutions to develop and implement an inquiry-based scientific research project.
The specific aim of this goal is to teach students how to conduct hypothesis- driven research. The expected outcome is to facilitate recruitment of students (both undergraduate and graduate) from the partnering institutions to the doctoral program in reproductive biology. Goal 2: Actively mentor BDRB students to ease their transition from the MS-granting partner institutions and increase the number of underrepresented students seeking doctoral degrees in reproductive biology at the applicant institution. BDRB faculty mentors from the minority-serving institutions who serve as Chairs of the Bridges master's students' graduate committees will be allowed to serve as members of the student's doctoral committee at TAMU. Goal 3: Promote retention of BDRB doctoral students in the interdisciplinary reproductive biology program for graduate education at TAMU. When BDRB students transfer to the PhD program at TAMU, they will be required to complete a series of core courses toward a degree in reproductive physiology and complete a series of lab rotations. The expected outcome of aligned curricula, lab rotations, and mentoring is to increase BDRB student retention at the PhD-granting institution. By recruiting students through training in the scientific method, promoting a smooth transition from the master's to the doctorate, and increasing student retention through curricula alignment and structured mentoring, the overall goal of the BDRB program is to increase the representation of minority students in research and academic careers in reproductive biology. Successful funding of the BDRB program at TAMU will train the next generation of scientists in these fields, and will increase the number of professional minority scientists and professors to train and mentor future underrepresented students in these disciplines. ? ? ?