This program will continue to provide biomedical/behavioral research training of underrepresented minority (URM) students. In the current cycle, all 16 (100%) senior upperclassmen trainees graduated with BS/BA degrees, with honors. Eight of 16 (50%) enrolled in PhD programs directly at various T32 pre-doctoral program institutions and 3 (19%) enrolled in MS degree programs, one enrolled in a Pharmacy program and 1 enrolled in a Medical Education Development (MED) program with the intent to attend dental school in Fall 2013. The remaining 2 recent graduates are research associates with the intent to pursue graduate degree programs within 3 years of graduation. More importantly, 100% of graduates are now in the biomedical/behavioral science career pipeline. While in the MARC program, these trainees co-authored a total of 6 peer reviewed publications, attesting to the impact of this program on the productivity of faculty and students at WSSU. Moreover, trainees overwhelmingly regard the experience as a positive influence on their career choices in science, as outlined in the independent program evaluation report. The objective of this renewal is to contribute to the institutional goal of increasing the numbers of graduating UR students who gain admission into PhD programs from the current baseline of 15 over the last 5 years (8 from MARC) to at least 25 over the next 5 years (13 MARC Scholars). This will involve a cohort of 8 upperclassmen (4 juniors and 4 seniors) per year with a goal to matriculate 80% of MARC Scholar graduates into competitive PhD within 3 years of graduation (i.e. ~13 of 16 MARC Scholar graduates). We will leverage funding to include a parallel cohort of MARC Affiliates (4 juniors and 4 seniors) per year. The Affiliates will participate in activities withou direct support but benefit from placement in funded research labs, mentors, and placement in research programs at our T32 partner institutions with an expected success rate of 60% matriculating into PhD programs within 3 years of graduation. We propose to increase the number of MARC-eligible students by 10 per year via the pre-MARC activities with the freshmen and sophomores who will successfully complete program activities and 7 of 10 (70%) trainees become eligible for MARC Scholars'program or other programs on campus and/or pursue a graduate degree in sciences.
We aim to 1) introduce students to biomedical research through hands-on participation;2) introduce students to critical scientific evaluation by journal club papr presentations;3) provide experience in scientific writing and speaking through presentation of their research projects as a poster;4) provide exposure to research faculty, both basic science and clinical;and 5) foster a career commitment to the biomedical and behavioral sciences through an experience that exemplifies the excitement and challenges of clinically relevant investigations. Our new aims are to 6) teach critical thinking associated with biological/behavioral techniques and enhance the students'understanding of basic research and graduate education in the new 3-part Investigation &Research course as a supplement to a rigorous curriculum specific for MARC students;and 7) establish an Internet-based tracking tool to help maintain contact with prior participants-including eight currently enrolled in PhD programs- whose success can inspire others. The training program has over 20 mentors who have primary academic appointments in ten different Departments, Centers and Programs at WSSU and Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS) and will draw trainees from three WSSU participating departments in the College of Arts and Sciences: life sciences, chemistry, and behavioral sciences. The MARC program will be guided by an advisory committee consisting of both internal and external members and reviewed by an independent program evaluator.
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) seeks to renew its MARC U*STAR program to continue to a) stimulate interest among underrepresented students in pursuing a research-based terminal degree in biomedical or behavioral research and b) increase the number of African-Americans and other minorities who hold leadership positions in the scientific research enterprise.