The research training of minority scholars is not only a national priority, but a priority for the State of Hawaii and the University of Hawaii. Recent growth in the biomedical and biotechnological industry and renewed emphasis on the conservation and management of natural resources has increased the need for highly-trained Ph.D. scientists in Hawaii. Our local students are poised to become a part of this growing scientific enterprise. Hawaii may have the most ethnically diverse population in the U.S., but Hawaiian, Filipino, and Pacific Island students are underrepresented in the science Ph.D. career track. The purpose of the Minority Access to Research Careers Program (MARC) is to address the disparities and prepare honors-level minority students for careers at the highest levels of the nation's scientific work force. In a new and promising venture, the MARC Program will join a partnership with the UH Manoa Honors Program to identify, educate, advise, and train ten minority students each year for research careers in the biological and behavioral sciences. Honors-caliber students will be identified as entering freshman, at the time of transfer from the community colleges, and at the point of declaring a major. The goal is to put more than 50% of those scholars on the Ph.D. track. The program is structured to increase the research, academic, and personal preparedness of the students to successfully compete for graduate admission. Academic preparedness will be enhanced by development of a competitive pool of pre-MARC, freshman-sophomore honors students, intensive academic advising at all levels, and research-based inquiry and methodology coursework. Research preparedness will be accomplished by a two-year mentored research internship with UH Manoa science researchers, an extramural summer research experience, journal clubs, laboratory skills training, participation in scientific meetings, publication authorship, and research ethics training. Personal preparedness will be developed by exposure to career options, peer-mentoring activities, social networking, and opportunities to increase written and oral communication skills. The MARC partnership with the Honors Program is expected to increase the research faculty involvement with all honors students and to promote visibility of honors opportunities at UH Manoa to the broader cohort of science majors and community college transfer students. External evaluation will permit timely assessment of progress toward the goals and objectives of the program.
The support of undergraduate research training will contribute to the development of a highly trained workforce to be future leaders of the nation's biological and behavioral research. The new generation of scientists will represent diverse backgrounds, incorporate multidisciplinary approaches, adapt quickly to changing technology, and work collaboratively to address the nation's research agenda.
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