With the growing population of underrepresented minorities in the United States and the need to train more students in science and engineering, higher education must develop programs to help minority students overcome the challenges they face in pursuing a college degree, especially in the sciences. To aid in addressing this issue, Texas Tech University (TTU) and South Plains College (SPC) will partner together to develop the Plains Bridges to the Baccalaureate (PB) program at TTU for underrepresented students (Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and American Indian). The long-term goal of the partnering institutions is to ultimately increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical sciences. Our objective in this proposal is to implement a multi-faceted program to help underrepresented students from SPC to make a smooth and successful transition to TTU and graduate with a baccalaureate in the biomedical sciences. The PB program will be formally evaluated and assessed to continually improve the program and ensure that program workshops, seminars, and activities are benefiting the PB fellows. Our program will focus on four components: 1) tools to succeed in college, 2) induction into science -- why is it fun?, 3) preparation for beyond the baccalaureate, and 4) increasing awareness of students and faculty regarding the challenges minorities face in science as well as the contributions of minorities in science. Each component will have workshops, seminars, and/or activities to help the PB fellows to achieve success in the respective areas. For example, fellows will participate in the Mentor Tech program at TTU which offers several workshops and seminars focused on tools to succeed in college such as time management and study strategies seminars. In addition, fellows will participate in undergraduate research with faculty at TTU which will invoke their curiosity about science and be competitive for graduate school. Each cohort will have 24 students and will be in the PB program for 2 years before transferring to TTU to complete a degree in a biomedical related field. Twelve students of each cohort will be paid to participate in undergraduate research while the other 12 will be able to volunteer in laboratories, but all students will attend seminars and workshops. After five years of funding, the PB program will have supported 96 students (four cohorts of 24 students) with three cohorts having transitioned to TTU and potentially all of cohort #1 having received their B.S. degrees. Therefore, the establishment of the PB program at TTU will result in an increase of the number of minorities in the biomedical sciences which is in-line with the missions of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and the National Center for Minority Health Disparities (NCMHD). The Plains Bridges to the Baccalaureate for underrepresented students program at Texas Tech University will increase the number of these students transferring from a community college (South Plains College) to a four year university and earning degrees in the biomedical sciences. This program will also help to train future minority scientists to conduct basic biomedical research that is necessary to better understand and improve human health issues.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMM-A (50))
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Hamlet, Michelle R
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Texas Tech University
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United States
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Mittal, Amandeep; Gampala, Srinivas S L; Ritchie, Glen L et al. (2014) Related to ABA-Insensitive3(ABI3)/Viviparous1 and AtABI5 transcription factor coexpression in cotton enhances drought stress adaptation. Plant Biotechnol J 12:578-89