The Rio Piedras Campus is requesting funds for the competitive renewal of its MARC U*STAR program. In the past this program has been successful in enabling underrepresented Hispanic students to pursue graduate studies and close to 90% have pursued research doctorates. This, in part, has been accomplished by targeting students from the less advantaged high schools, recruiting the highly capable, providing them with experiences that reinforce their interest in research and finally knitting them into a cohesive group that encourages its own members to pursue graduate studies. The Rio Piedras MARC U*STAR program is proposing to continue to pursue following specific aims: 1) To increase the number of minority undergraduate students who pursue graduate studies leading to doctoral degrees in the biomedical sciences, and 2) To increase the number of UPR-Rio Piedras undergraduates who are not only interested in, but highly capable of successfully pursuing biomedically relevant research careers. The first of these aims includes those objectives and activities which develop research skills in Juniors and Seniors. Since activities associated with a research experience are irreplaceable components in the development of future scientists, the program will continue to require a rigorous intramural experience that involves the completion of a specific project and includes an undergraduate dissertation. External experiences will also be required. However, the program will seek to improve this and other activities in order to assure that students have a better chance of becoming biomedical researchers. This will include, making better use of summer experiences, applying to graduate programs more suited to their needs and experience in the more complex instrumentation they will use in their graduate work.
The second aim i nvolves activities that should have an impact on the numbers of UPR-Rio Piedras Biology and Chemistry majors who are capable of pursuing research careers. These activities are directed to improving student performance and include: Freshman Mentoring, Summer Math Immersion for in-coming Freshmen and Curricular Enhancement.
The fundamental goal of Rio Piedras MARC is to increase the numbers of underrepresented biomedical scientists with the highest academic and scientific knowledge and skill that allows them to enter the arena of competitive research.
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