The goal of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) is to increase the number of underrepresented (UR) minority undergraduate students who are fully prepared and highly motivated to succeed in PhD-level biomedical research careers. The program provides a cohesive and comprehensive suite of training experiences for undergraduate students that includes innovative research preparatory activities;rigorous, guided research experiences;intensive academic, professional, and personal mentoring;a wide variety of professional development workshops, including discussions about the responsible conduct of science;workshops that address issues of self-identity;and support in the application process for PhD programs. All activities are designed to increase students'professional preparation and sense of self-efficacy, thus enabling them to succeed as scientists. All activities will be rigorously evaluated to assess their efficacy and guide modifications that will optimally serve these goals. Central to the program is a strong, well-established partnership with Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), reinforced by our U54 UMB-DF/HCC Minority-Serving Institution/Comprehensive Cancer Center partnership grant, as well as several new partnerships and collaborations. The DF/HCC partnership provides student research opportunities in the context of a successful institutional collaboration, while all of the external partnerships provide enrichment activities and a pipeline to outstanding PhD programs. The IMSD is also designed to have broad impacts on the university by 1) providing an academic and scientific enrichment program for all students, aimed at raising awareness of research and leading more students to research endeavors;2) taking a leadership role in developing, modeling, and evaluating training strategies for all science students;3) developing, modeling, and evaluating a program of supplemental instruction for all students in historically difficult courses;4) providing an evidence-based mentor training program;5) nurturing partnerships with institutions and alliances that will transition students to graduate programs;and 6) synergizing with student learning communities and training programs at UMB to extend their reach. We envision IMSD serving as the linchpin connecting ongoing efforts and partnerships. IMSD will contribute leadership to implement the institution's strategic plan for bringing about cultural and curricular changes that will increase the number of PhD-ready students in the sciences.
The continuation of Initiative for Maximizing Student Development at UMass Boston program will provide increased numbers of underrepresented minority students at the undergraduate level with intensive research training and other academic enrichment activities. The enriching activities and interventions put forward by IMSD at UMB are working to trigger institutional changes beyond the cohorts of participants and beyond the timeframe of the program. Our program aims to change the institutional culture in ways that lead to increased faculty and student diversity and overall enhanced success of UR students at UMB and in the region.
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