The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is a research institution that has gained national recognition for its Minority Science Programs (MSP) at the School of Biological Sciences. The MARC U*STAR at UCI aims at increasing the number of honors underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduates that enter and excel in research doctorates in biomedical sciences. Major program components include, 1) pre-MARC student development activities designed to introduce participants to biomedical research, increase student retention, improve the academic preparedness and interest in biomedical research of URM freshmen and sophomores, and to identify and prepare students for appointment as MARC trainees and 2) a MARC component that supports juniors and seniors to increase the number of competitively trained URM who enroll in research doctorates, by strengthening their academic preparation, motivation and research training. Independent research conducted under the direction of faculty mentors serve as a core element to induce MARC scholars to pursue graduate school and research-focused careers. Over 100 faculty with experience training URM undergraduates and with funded research programs serve as preceptors of MARC scholars. The MARC research training elements are integrated with the undergraduate curriculum and include, 1) individual career and academic advising, 2) a research faculty seminar series, 3) a journal club to introduce scholars to critical reading of current biomedical literature, 4) a workshop on principles, instrumentation and techniques used in biomedical research, 5) independent research directed by faculty mentors, 6) preparation to present oral presentations and posters at local and national conferences, 7) workshop on scientific communications and application to graduate school, 8) weekly individual advice during the graduate school application process and 9) full access to a computer laboratory specifically designed for this program.
The academic preparation and research training of talented underrepresented minority undergraduates is critical to ensure that a diverse and highly trained workforce is available to assume leadership roles in the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research enterprise, to address the need of improving the health of the people of the United States. This project will improve the academic quality and increase the quantity of undergraduates from underrepresented groups being trained as the next generation of biomedical research scientists.
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