This MARC U*STAR application requests support for a 4-year research training program that continues support for our current 2-year MARC Trainee Program, funds eight additional trainees over the next 5 years, and funds a comprehensive MARC Enrichment Program focusing on pre-college and early college developmental activities as well as service learning and community building. Our main goal is to increase the number of talented minority undergraduates who are prepared to enroll into, and complete biomedical Ph.D. programs. Measurable objectives include having an 80 percent rate of trainees being admitted to top-ranked graduate programs;increasing our MARC-eligible trainee applicant pool by 50%, increasing the disciplinary diversity of the applicant pool by 50%, and exposing pre-college and college students earlier in their education to biomedical research opportunities. The 2-year MARC Trainee Fellows program offers research opportunities, courses, seminars, and presentations whose effectiveness is continuously monitored by evaluation. Outstanding junior-level students are selected for an intensive, mentored research training and honors program. Trainees are recruited not only from life science departments, but also from biomedically relevant areas in engineering, physics, nanosciences, and behavioral sciences. Trainees choose from a select group of more than 45 highly qualified MARC preceptors from at least 12 departments. MARC Enrichment focuses on programmatic and outreach activities that enhance research training and learning experiences. Programmatic activities include a scientific writing course, support for a new Biomedical Research Minor track, and creation of research/society forums. Outreach programs include targeted research workshops/seminars, mentoring programs, full-day research lab experiences for community college and high school students, and a high school science and math academy. This application builds on a highly successful program. Indicative of our success over the last 5 years, 19 of 37 MARC trainees entered into Ph.D. programs immediately following graduation. The cumulative effect of this 4- year MARC program should increase the pool of minority students going on to and completing Ph.D. programs.
UCLA MARC U*STAR is a successful program that offers research training opportunities for underrepresented minority science majors to enhance their competitiveness for highly ranked biomedical Ph.D. programs, thus ensuring a highly diverse and well trained scientific workforce. We have added a comprehensive MARC Enrichment program whose goal is to increase the number of MARC and non-MARC students considering biomedical research careers.
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