The UCSC Diversity Action Plan at the University of California, Santa Cruz, a partner program with the UCSC Genome Browser, is implemented on our campus as the CBSE Research Mentoring Institute (RMI), a research education program that supports underrepresented minority (URM) students in both undergraduate and graduate (pre-doctoral) educational training that advances them toward successful careers in genomic science or its ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI). The RMI improves equity and access to careers in genomic science by increasing the participation of underrepresented minority students who successfully complete degrees in genomics-related fields. Students supported by the RMI program must perform research with a faculty mentor in a genomics laboratory, or in the case of ELSI, focus on issues in genomics. The RMI provides financial support, a regular schedule of academic and professional development workshops, one-on-one coaching, and mentored research training. The program exposes students to the culture and rigors of a research environment under the close supervision of faculty mentoring, thus enhancing preparation for and success in graduate school and beyond. We recruit from regional community colleges and California State Universities that have high percentages of students from low-income and underserved populations. To ensure successful persistence to degree completion, we implement retention strategies based on best practices to create professional support and programming within a cutting-edge research environment that provides our cohort with the knowledge and tools needed to advance to meaningful careers in genomics.

Public Health Relevance

The Research Mentoring Institute (RMI) of the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering at UC Santa Cruz offers mentored research training, financial support, and professional development to students pursuing careers in genomic science or in the analysis of the ethical, legal, and social implications of that research. The RMI improves equity and access to careers in genomic science by contributing to the number of academically talented and underrepresented minority (URM) students who successfully complete degrees in genomic science. Our efforts are valuable in terms of social justice, and the students who graduate from our programs and enter careers in genomics constitute a valuable contribution to the American biomedical workforce, bringing skill, talent, and diverse perspectives to fields of knowledge that promise to dramatically benefit human health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHG1-HGR-M (J1))
Program Officer
Gatlin, Christine L
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University of California Santa Cruz
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
Santa Cruz
United States
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Knutson, Andrew Kekūpa'a; Rechtsteiner, Andreas; Strome, Susan (2016) Reevaluation of whether a soma-to-germ-line transformation extends lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:3591-6
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