This portion of the grant, requested by the Univeristy of Texas at El Paso and our partners, will focus efforts on supporting the Research Enrichment Core of the BUILDing SCHOLARS center. The long-term goal is to address the diversity crisis in biomedicine.
The specific aims are as follows: 1) Operate an intensive Summer Research Program for undergraduate students and faculty across partner institutions;2) Enrich students' academic and professional skills in biomedicine broadly defined;and 3) Coordinate an integrated three-tier mentoring program targeting student-student, faculty-student and faculty-faculty mentoring relationships.
The first aim will be achieved through matching undergraduate students with faculty for mentored summer research experiences;providing summer research experiences for college bridge students;and establishing a visiting summer researcher program for faculty.
The second aim (focused only on undergraduate students) will be achieved through the provision of tutoring/writing support;research/career enrichment workshops; and a research and teaching integration program.
The third aim will be achieved through the coordination of a two-semester peer mentoring training and practice program for students;mentoring training modules for faculty mentors overseeing undergraduate researchers;faculty-run professional development workshops;a super-mentor program for faculty and post-docs, and an online community of mentoring practice for faculty and post-docs. The activities are innovative because they will: 1) bring together participants of various academic ages and disciplinary backgrounds in a program structured by topical research foci;2) lead to the formation of a region-wide research/mentoring "community of practice";and 3) address the institutional, social and individual factors influencing student success using an "asset bundles" approach. Moreover, the activities are significant because they will improve and advance the career trajectories of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups and faculty on a regional scale
In terms of public health relevance, this grant will catalyze research opportunities for students and faculty through a multi-pronged approach to enhance diversity in the NIH research workforce. This will not only develop research opportunities for emerging biomedical researchers from the US Southwest, but it will also build the capacity to address health disparities in this region.