The BLaST Research Enrichment Core will implement innovative and integrative approaches that promote biomedical research and improve infrastructure, so students will be engaged, motivated, and prepared for biomedical careers. BLaST is uniquely positioned to recruit students from rural Alaska, the most remote and isolated US population with extreme educational and economic disparities. The core has 4 specific aims:
Specific Aim 1 : Develop and implement research pilot projects designed to increase participation by undergraduate students at the Fairbanks campus and rural partners.
This specific aim will embed undergraduate research training into Alaska's biomedical research enterprise.
Specific Aim 2 : Develop presentations and workshops at rural partners to engage students and stimulate their interest in biomedical research careers. We will employ culturally appropriate approaches to engage rural high school and undergraduate students in biomedical research. We will work closely with rural partners and existing UAF programs to develop regionally specific programs in rural Alaska.
Specific Aim 3 : Develop academic enrichment activities, skill development workshops, and seminars that will enhance students'competitiveness for entrance into biomedical doctoral programs. We will develop instructional tools for undergraduate and early graduate students to enhance competitiveness in biomedical research training and careers for all students, including those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Specific Aim 4 : Develop mentoring resources to build a culture of group research mentoring across the state. We will develop research mentoring for undergraduate students as an integral part of biomedical training in Alaska through customizable plans, workshops, and an integrated organizational structure of peer, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many mentoring groups that will occur in formal courses and seminars as well as informal study and research working groups. We will provide mentoring resources and tools to evaluate mentoring outcomes at individual student, faculty, and institutional levels. Finally, we will work with the Diversity Program Consortium to integrate our evaluation with national efforts.
The Research Enrichment Core of BLaST will enhance research experiences for all undergraduate students interested in biomedical sciences, including those from underrepresented groups, thereby increasing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce in Alaska and the Nation.