The UC Davis MARC Scholars Program will prepare underrepresented minority (URM) students to enter doctoral programs in areas related to biomedical research. For this, we propose a two-pronged program: (1) the Pre-MARC component (called the UC Davis Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program or BUSP) - a professional development program for freshman and sophomore biology students that features structured and challenging academic enhancement activities, academic and personal advising, and early experience in research;and (2) the MARC Scholars Program for junior and senior level students that will build on the BUSP program and include intensive research experiences as well as a series of activities that will enhance the Scholars'oral &written communication skills;engage them in discussions of multidisciplinary research topics, research integrity, and experimental design;provide them with advice and experience in preparing oral and written scientific presentations;provide them with experience in grant writing;and provide them guidance in the graduate school application process. The overall goal of the MARC Scholars Program is to increase the number of URMs who successfully pursue PhD or MD/PhD degrees in areas of biomedical research. Our Specific (and measurable) Aims are to: (1) establish a 4 year program that will provide a strong foundation for URM students to enter and complete a PhD program in an area of biomedical science [i.e., they will graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA in a participating major, score in the top 50th percentile on the GRE, gain expertise as a student researcher with respect to understanding experimental design and data interpretation, and gain experience in presenting their research both regionally and nationally (e.g., at ABRCMS, SACNAS)];(2) recruit and admit into the MARC program, 10 junior honor URMs interested in biomedical research each year (except in year 1, when we will admit 8 students as we ramp up the program);and (3) have at least 40% of the senior MARC Scholars enter PhD (or MD/PhD) programs in biomedically related disciplines (i.e., an average of 4/year as opposed to 2.5/yr from the BUSP-honors program). Increasing the number of URMs involved in biomedical research is important for increasing the diversity of ideas and backgrounds brought to bear on many current health issues -- including racial and gender-related health disparities.
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