We seek continuation of the KU Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) that has exceeded its goals in the recruitment and training of American Indian (AI) and other underrepresented minorities (URMs). Within the three years since its inception, 23 URMs have been accepted into the program. Over half (13) are AI, and nine attended our long-term partnering tribal college, Haskell Indian Nations University. All 11 scholars that successfully completed the program have entered graduate school. Six are enrolled in doctoral programs, and five are enrolled or have completed masters programs with the potential to continue into PhD programs. Four additional scholars are applying to graduate school, bringing the total of PREP scholars either enrolled in or applying to graduate school to near 65% of the students who enrolled in the program. Continuation of KU PREP will build on these successes and permit refinements that respond to a formative evaluation of the program. Talented PREP scholars with a bachelor's degree who find themselves under-prepared for graduate work will be recruited from Haskell, KU, and other institutions. An individualized student development plan (IDP) will be created for each scholar based on the results of careful academic evaluation and assessments made by skilled professionals. A central focus of the IDP will be research training;consequently, PREP scholars will be Apprentice Scientists, each assigned a KU faculty researcher and a mentoring team. All participating mentors have demonstrated their abilities to work with minority students like those engaged at the University of Kansas. KU's PREP also enhances math, reading and writing, and leadership skills to guarantee scholar success in highly competitive graduate programs. IDPs include coursework in professional writing that enhances the PREP scholars'ability to critique, synthesize, and communicate within their chosen fields. KU Math department faculty work with individual scholars to elevate their quantitative skills to an advanced level appropriate for today's scientific research. All PREP scholars complete a series of seminars in the responsible conduct of research, test taking strategies, applying to graduate school, and professional development workshops that improve their overall qualifications for graduate school. Modifications in response to program evaluation will allow KU PREP to advance at least 75% of its scholars into graduate school with a PhD completion rate of 80%, thereby increasing the number of AI and other URMs within the biomedical research community.
The proposed project will increase the diversity of the scientific community by preparing American Indians and other underrepresented students for graduate study and eventual careers in biomedical research. The project will increase the size and diversity of the scientific workforce and increase interest in research regarding diseases with a high incidence in minority populations, improving both health care and disease prevention in this country.
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