The proportion of underrepresented minorities (URMs) earning doctorate degrees in the basic biomedical sciences has increased modestly over the past few decades. Our proposed Program, the South Texas Advanced Research Training Undergraduate Program (START-UP) is a response to a Funding Opportunity Announcement from the Blueprint Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (BP-ENDURE). As such, the overall goal of our Program is to encourage and prepare junior and senior undergraduate URMs from the San Antonio and South Texas Region to enter doctoral programs in neuroscience, to complete them successfully, and become well-trained and competitive neuroscientists. To accomplish this, a comprehensive program is proposed for the URM students accepted into the program, involving extensive research experiences in the laboratories of successful neuroscientists, and opportunities to develop and improve their writing, speaking, and time management skills. Students will be recruited into START-UP from five partner institutions in San Antonio, namely Our Lady of the Lake University, St. Mary's University, Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, and the University of Texas, San Antonio. Collectively these schools have 24,527 undergraduates who are URMs (based on ethnicity), of whom 2,947 are Science Majors. Also, these schools have a high number of students from low income families, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. Faculty contacts have been established at each school to assist us recruit suitable students into START-UP. Thirty-one training faculty have been identified (including three from UTSA), who are appropriate to mentor these students in their laboratories. The students will participate in laboratory research for an average of 12 hours per week during the two academic semesters, and 40 hours/week during a 10-week intensive summer research exposure. Students will also have an opportunity to work in one of seven major neuroscience programs at institutions outside of San Antonio during the summer. In addition to their laboratory research, the students will also attend seminars and journal clubs, research retreats, and have exposure to neuroscientists from other institutions. The students will all receive instruction on the responsible conduct of research. The Co-Directors of the Program are Drs. Alan Frazer and David Weiss, experienced scientists and administrators, who have run programs similar to START-UP previously. They will be members of an Executive Committee that will oversee all aspects of the Program. There is a formal evaluation plan for the Program, as well as an outcomes assessment process. Further, a plan is described to disseminate nationally all materials developed for the design and implementation of START-UP.
The number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in the biomedical sciences remains woefully inadequate, and the proportion of URMs earning doctorate degrees in the basic biomedical sciences has increased very modestly over the past few decades. Our proposed Program, the South Texas Advanced Research Training Minority Undergraduate Program (START-M-UP) is a response to the Funding Opportunity Announcement from the Blueprint Program for Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences (BP-ENDURE). As such, the overall goal of our Program is to encourage and prepare junior and senior undergraduate URMs from San Antonio and the South Texas Region to enter doctoral programs in neuroscience, to complete them successfully, and to become well-trained and competitive neuroscientists.
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