The goal of DISCOVERY PREP is to increase the number of Ph.D. graduates who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. We propose to accomplish this goal by undertaking the following specific aims.
Aim 1 will be to establish a program that will provide an opportunity for recent baccalaureate-degree graduates from "targeted groups" to obtain the research experience needed to gain admission to, and success in, a competitive and research-intensive biomedical science Ph.D. program. We will identify undergraduates who show an expressed desire to pursue basic science research and then design an individualized student development plan that will include an extensive research experience mentored by a faculty member who is well-funded and has a deep commitment to the vision of diversity for the leadership in biomedical research.
Aim 2 will establish a program that will provide an opportunity for the DISCOVERY PREP students to strengthen professional skills that are needed to survive in a competitive biomedical science Ph.D. program. Students will participate in activities that are uniquely for them alone, as well as activities in conjunction with current biomedical science graduate students. Intra-student group activities will include journal clubs, research-in-progress seminars, outings to see other graduate programs, and a bi-annual retreat weekend, as well as workshops designed to enhance verbal abilities, bolster writing and communication skills, improve study habits, fortify interviewing skills, and foster techniques for critical and analytical thinking. The inter-student group activities will include participation with graduate students in courses on the responsible conduct of research, professional ethics, grantsmanship, and enhancing skills in scientific communication, a weekly graduate student seminar series, and the annual Research Day.
Aim 3 will determine the impact of the DISCOVERY PREP on the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and resilience of the students, and establish a database reflective of the career path of each DISCOVERY PREP student. To accomplish this aim, we will conduct pre- and post-tests of resilience and research self-efficacy using the 25-item Resilience Scale by Wagnild and 33-item Self-Efficacy in Research Measure (SERM) developed by Phillip &Russell. These tests will help determine the effectiveness of our curriculum and mentoring for skills that are associated with academic achievement and research productivity. The proposed specific aims are relevant because they will provide the necessary research and career development skills needed to make our DISCOVERY PREP students more competitive and resilient for admission to, and success in, a competitive biomedical science Ph.D. program. The database is relevant because it will provide information that will assess how well our goal is achieved, direct ways to improve the program, and direct decisions on which elements to institutionalize. Public Health Relevance Statement: Cultural diversity at the Ph.D. level needs to be achieved to allow individuals from underrepresented groups to benefit from intellectual, as well as economic, advantages afforded a Ph.D., and serve as powerful role models for others. The DISCOVERY PREP Program is designed for recent graduates from underrepresented groups who require additional post-baccalaureate research and academic enrichment activities. The program will increase the likelihood of admission to, and graduation from, a highly competitive Ph.D. program in biomedical science research.
Cultural diversity at the Ph.D. level needs to be achieved to allow individuals from underrepresented groups to benefit from intellectual, as well as economic, advantages afforded a Ph.D., and serve as powerful role models for others. The DISCOVERY PREP Program is designed for recent graduates from underrepresented groups who require additional post-baccalaureate research and academic enrichment activities. The program will increase the likelihood of admission to, and graduation from, a highly competitive Ph.D. program in biomedical science research.
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