The Purchase College MARC U-STAR Honors Program: Building the Academic, Social and Economic Capital of Underrepresented STEM Scholars aligns with the mission and commitment of Purchase College to build programming to support underrepresented (UR) students' success in STEM. The program is designed to meet central goals that will help to improve the depth and quality of UR professionals in biomedical or behavioral research careers: Increase the number of UR students majoring in STEM at Purchase College; Support 25 UR trainees' progress through a bachelor's degree and PhD or PhD/MD in STEM. The program will also build Purchase College's capacity to effectively recruit diverse students into STEM programs and provide the support they need for success. We have conducted an institutional self-assessment (as described in the background) to assess need. Our resulting program utilizes evidence-based practices to improve recruitment of UR STEM students, improve STEM pedagogy in courses for majors and non-majors, and support trainees for 24 consecutive months during the junior and senior year. Our intent is that through the acquisition of academic, social, and economic capital, trainees will become, and come to see themselves as, fully capable academic insiders. The program will ensure that trainees build capital as they are challenged and supported in rigorous STEM courses, four semesters of research on campus and ten weeks of research at a research-intensive university. Trainees will have opportunities to conduct research in biology, biochemistry, biostatistics, chemistry, cognitive science, computer science, human development, environmental health, epidemiology, mathematics, neuroscience, pharmacology, and socio-medical science. Rigorous academic and research experience coupled with access to tutoring, study groups, and regular engagement with a community of motivated peers will help trainees acquire academic capital. Tuition support, a summer stipend, and instruction on how to obtain scholarships, fellowships, and grants will enable trainees to build economic capital. Trainees will build social capital through regular interaction with faculty, service learning, and interactions with graduate students and faculty at other institutions and scientific conferences. The program maximizes student-faculty interaction, minimizes the presentation of science as impersonal and competitive, and provides the rigor necessary to prepare students for graduate study and careers in biomedical and behavioral science. We will disseminate findings and program materials at conferences, in published papers and on a program website.
The Purchase College MARC U-STAR Honors Program: Building the Academic, Social and Economic Capital of Underrepresented STEM Scholars will increase the number of underrepresented professionals in biomedical and behavioral research careers, thereby having a positive impact on public health. By improving recruitment, STEM pedagogy and support for underserved students, the program will increase the numbers of underrepresented students who successfully pursue careers in biomedical science. By disseminating program materials and outcomes, the program will enable other schools to utilize evidence-based practices in support of underserved students.