The mission of the Michigan State University (MSU) Spartan MARC U*STAR program is to address the economic and social imperative to increase the number of talented and well-trained underrepresented minority (URM) students who pursue graduate degrees in the biomedical sciences. The program objectives are to 1) beginning in Year 1, provide access for 20 URMs annually to mentored research opportunities with research active faculty in the biomedical sciences, 2) beginning in the fourth year of the grant, triple the number of URMs pursuing their PhD in the biomedical sciences over the baseline each year, 3) improve the institutional culture at MSU related to URM participation in mentored scientific research and the pursuit of doctoral degrees in biomedical fields, and 4) increase the number of MSU underrepresented undergraduate students who apply for national/international awards (e.g. Goldwater, NSF Graduate Fellowships). The program will consist of 20 pre-MARC Scholars (entering URM students) who will participate in two intensive research-related mathematics courses in the summers prior to their first and second years. During their first two years, the cohort will engage in small group mentored research seminars and participate in a variety of seminars and activities designed to acculturate them to the scientific process and to prepare them for a focused research experience. From this cohort of pre-MARC students, ten MARC Fellows will be selected and will receive stipend and tuition support for their junior and senior years. The core of the MARC Fellows program is a two- year research experience with experienced, dedicated MSU faculty mentors. Faculty mentors will be matched with MARC Fellows based on the strength of their research programs, level of research funding, and their reputation for mentoring undergraduates in their laboratories. The MARC-phase research experience will be augmented by monthly seminars on responsible conduct of research and workshops designed to enhance the Fellows'competitiveness for scholarships, awards, and admission to graduate programs. MARC Fellows will have an extramural research experience at another institution between their junior and senior years and the Fellows will attend the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in both years of the MARC program, presenting their research at this meeting in their senior year. The Program will be assessed by internal and external evaluators. The benchmark for success will be an increased number of MSU URM students entering high quality graduate PhD programs in the biomedical sciences and the impact of the MARC U*STAR Program on the MSU's institutional culture related to URM participation in the biomedical sciences. Because the grant is five years and only two cohorts of students will proceed to graduation in that time, the evaluation of the program will include pre- and post-survey of student knowledge, perceptions and attitudes related to research and pursuit of doctoral studies in the biomedical sciences, monitoring of student progress including academic performance, and presence of URMs in campus-wide undergraduate research initiatives.
The Michigan State University MARC U*STAR Program is designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students who pursue graduate degrees in the biomedical sciences. The Program consists of a two year preparatory phase followed by a two year intensive research experience. Throughout all years of the Program, research experience is augmented with regularly scheduled seminars and workshops that will provide training in responsible conduct of research and professional skills.
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