The mission of the UMES MARC U* STAR Program is to increase the number of underrepresented UMES minority students who earn doctoral degrees in the biomedical sciences. The Program is designed to enhance the preparation and preserve the interests of high achieving honor students for research careers. The UMES MARC U* STAR Program will fulfill the following objectives: Strengthening the science curriculum in the Department of Natural Sciences with the addition of four (4) new courses for science majors (MARC and non-MARC) in order to increase the percentage of DNS students with cumulative grade point averages above 3.0 from 39% to 45%; Increasing the 4-year retention rate of DNS majors from 19% to 24%; Maintaining active collaborations with research intensive institutions, at 4, in order to provide extramural research opportunities for MARC U* STAR trainees and DNS majors; Maintaining the percentage of MARC U* STAR students exposed to """"""""cutting edge"""""""" research in the biomedical sciences predominantly through extramural summer research appointments at 100%; Maintaining the rate of MARC U* STAR student participation in professional experiences at 100%; Improving the average GRE scores of MARC U* STAR students from 410 in verbal reasoning and 560 in quantitative analysis to 500 in verbal reasoning and 650 in quantitative analysis; Reviewing and revising four lower level Biology courses - Honors Principles of Biology I and II (BIOL 111H and 112H) and Honors Principles of Chemistry I and II (CHEM 111H and CHEM 112H); Redesigning the Principles of Chemistry I course;and Providing discipline specific workshops to potential MARC candidates in the fall semesters of the freshman and sophomore years. This program makes available to academically distinguished students special instructional and research experiences which regular curricula do not offer. The Program seeks to strengthen Biology and Chemistry curricula as a means of preparing students for the rigorous demands of graduate school, and provide the foundation necessary for the comprehension and appreciation of the research projects with which they will be involved. The UMES MARC U* STAR Program will emphasize extramural research experiences during the summer to allow students to engage in a hands-on approach to scientific literacy. It strategically provides intensive counseling, training, and test-taking seminars for the purpose of improving the quality of education, self-confidence of its students and GRE test scores. Through uniquely-designed partnerships the UMES MARC U* Program will facilitate the placement and matriculation of trainees into doctoral programs. At the end of this project, 25 trainees will have matriculated into Ph.D. or M.D./ Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences. Relevance: In accordance with Healthy People 2010, which seeks to reduce health related threats to Americans by improving the quality of life and eliminating health disparities, the UMES MARC Program has as its mission to enhance the skills and competitiveness of underrepresented minority students and faculty in biomedical research. These individuals not only have the appropriate level of skill, but also the cultural sensitivity to effectively address the underlying biological mechanisms that contribute to the disproportionate burden of disease in various populations in the US.
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