The "Summer Multicultural Advanced Research Training" or SMART program at The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) has existed since 1993 as part of its "Coordinated Plan to Increase Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences". The program provides underrepresented minorities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and with disabilities a 10-week summer research experience. SMART program trainees are recruited from our existing URM partner institutions as well as through attendance at undergraduate student science conferences. Prospective undergraduate applicants entering their sophomore or junior year are selected based on a GPA of 3.0 or greater and their indication of interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in biomedical sciences. "SMART trainees" participate in mentored research provided by UNTHSC faculty conducting funded research. Trainees also attend academic courses, study skill and survival workshops that expose and prepare them for entry and matriculation in graduate school. Trainees are provided stipend and room and board through this funding mechanism. To culminate the completion of their summer program, SMART trainees present their research in the form of a research poster competition followed by a Role Model Awards Banquet. In addition, SMART scholars are encouraged to submit an abstract of their research to be presented at a national on conference (SACNAS or ABCRMS). SMART trainees are also encouraged to apply for another year of summer research through the UNTHSC McNAIR Post-baccalaureate program as incoming juniors or seniors. In total, the expectation of this program is that 100% will complete their undergraduate degree and 80% will continue in doctoral degree programs. Thus, increasing the number and diversity of biomedical scientists.
The long-term goal of this project is to increase the number and diversity of individuals entering career paths in the biomedical sciences. This program provides underrepresented minorities and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or with disabilities the opportunity to participate in mentored biomedical research and enhance their academic skill sets through course work and study skill workshops. The objective of this program is to motivate and prepare undergraduate students for entry into doctoral degree programs in biomedical sciences.