This Bridges to Doctorate Program is an initiative by faculty at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and the University of Kentucky (UK) to prepare underrepresented students for careers in biomedical research. The primary target student population for this Bridges grant will be those from Appalachian counties considered to be "distressed" or "at-risk" due to their significant unemployment and poverty rates. The rationale to focus on distressed Appalachian counties is that they comprise a large part of the EKU service region, although this Bridges program will also endeavor to recruit students from other underrepresented groups. EKU and UK are ideal partners for this particular Bridges program;both are geographically situated close to the region targeted in this grant, a strong relationship already exists between these two institutions and their proximity will allow Bridge students to travel easily from EKU to UK for symposia and classes. A comprehensive plan is proposed to provide strong masters level training to Bridge students while at EKU to prepare them to transition to the UK Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS) program where they will pursue doctoral studies in biomedical research.
The aims of this proposal are to: (1) recruit talented Appalachian students to a comprehensive interdisciplinary master's program to EKU with mentoring from EKU and UK faculty, (2) provide Appalachian Bridge students with the skill sets needed for continued training at the PhD level, including an intensive research experience that requires a written research proposal and thesis, workshops, courses, and seminars, (3) provide opportunities to showcase the achievements of Appalachian Bridge students at local, regional and national meetings, and (4) develop a series of metrics to rigorously evaluate the success of the EKU-UK Bridges to Doctorate program and make adjustments/improvements when warranted. With an excellent group of faculty from EKU and UK who have agreed to serve as mentors for this program, we anticipate the ability to recruit 5 students/year to this 2-year master's program.
The goal of this Bridges to Doctorate program is to prepare underrepresented baccalaureate students with master level training at Eastern Kentucky University in preparation for transition to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD program at the University of Kentucky. This Bridges program will primarily target students from Appalachia, a disadvantaged region that is already a large part of the Eastern Kentucky University service region. The aims of this grant will provide comprehensive research-intensive training and includes an evaluation plan to insure that the program is achieving its stated objectives.