The Hunter College MARC U*STAR Program serves a large and diverse public institution that has a student body predominantly composed of minorities and women. Our long-term goal is to increase the commitment of underrepresented minority students in careers in biomedical research and to prepare them for successful entry into and completion of PhD programs. Given that biomedical research is becoming more interdisciplinary, we plan to capitalize on Hunter College's strength in this area to better prepare MARC scholars to work as part of an interdisciplinary research team. The objective of this proposal is to provide interventions, through the renewal of our MARC-U*STAR program, for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in fields comprising the biomedical sciences, specifically those students interested in interdisciplinary research. Our rationale for this project is that its successful completion is expected to impart to students the technical and career-building skills necessary to earn a PhD in the biomedical sciences. We expect to achieve our objective by pursuit of the following four specific aims:
Aim #1 : Expand and improve our admissions pool, specifically students interested in interdisciplinary research (e.g. quantitative biology or neurosciences), by increasing the number of students meeting the course and GPA requirement for our program, the number of applicants to MARC program, and thus the number of Hunter graduates pursuing a PhD in the biomedical sciences through several Pre-MARC activities.
Aim #2 : Improve student research training opportunities, especially in interdisciplinary research. To make our MARC scholars better candidates for PhDs, we will provide students with interdisciplinary research opportunities (for example, quantitative biology or neuroscience) at Hunter and at other universities.
Aim #3 : Provide student academic support and professional development. We will give students the necessary skills and encouragement required to perform well in their coursework, excel as a graduate student and work as part of an interdisciplinary team during their careers, thus increasing the number of MARC graduates pursuing PhDs in the biomedical sciences, specifically in interdisciplinary research (e.g. quantitative biology and neuroscience).
Specific Aim #4 : Strengthen the internal and external, formative and summative, evaluation of the program. We will capture lessons learned from a longstanding program and feed back into program improvement.
As we proceed through the 21st century, we face a world that is dependent upon science and technology, where careers in biomedical research require stronger analytical and critical thinking skills and necessitate working in interdisciplinary teams. While the population of our country is becoming more ethnically diverse, the ranks of trained biomedical researchers are not, demonstrating a critical need to increase the number of underrepresented minorities earning PhDs in the biomedical sciences, especially those trained to function in interdisciplinary teams. Until this need is met we, as a society, will not be able to meet the future workforce needs of the biomedical and public health research community.
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