The future of our nation requires great scientific expertise. However, not all sectors of the population have access to opportunities that allow them to become fully engaged in the sciences. U.S. citizens and permanent residents belonging to certain ethnic groups are especially underrepresented in their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM includes basic biomedical research. We seek to continue the Minority Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Science Training and Research (MARC U*STAR) program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). CSUN has extensive experience with both the MARC HURT and the MARC U*STAR programs and has successfully prepared many students for acceptance into competitive Ph.D. programs. Our goal is to increase their participation in basic biomedical research careers. We proposed to accomplish this by increasing the pool of high-achieving undergraduates in chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, kinesiology, physics, health sciences, and occupational and environmental health. To increase the pool of high-achieving students, we propose to develop a new Science 100 course, and to continue to enhance several levels of intervention, outreach and advisement. Some of these high-achieving students will be selected to participate in the Junior- Senior component of the U*STAR program and will receive special further training that will ultimately prepare them for graduate school and lead to the Ph.D. We expect that these efforts over the five-year period will increase by 15% the total number of students who are eligible to apply for the Junior-Senior component of MARC U*STAR. We shall solicit applications for the Junior-Senior component from students enrolled at CSUN as well as from students enrolled in the local community colleges. Trainees will be selected from the pool by the MARC U*STAR Steering Committee, which will be composed of the Program Director, MARC U*STAR research preceptors and two MARC U*STAR trainees. The goal of this component is to place 80% of students who complete the program in Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. programs.
Scientific and social progress occur when well trained, creative people have the tools and imagination to think of a better way of being or of doing something. People are the most important resource that a nation has to address its challenges. The long term goal of the MARC U*STAR program at CSUN is to increase the number of well-prepared, underrepresented undergraduates for research careers in basic biomedical sciences through curricular and co-cirricular activities.
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