Successful student research training requires integrated recruitment and research opportunities, courses designed to optimize both learning and research training outcomes for students, and programs that provide a path to biomedical research careers. The Student Training Core of the BLaST program will enhance the research training environment by enhancing research infrastructure and increasing opportunities for biomedical education and research at the Fairbanks and rural campuses. The core has 4 specific aims:
Specific Aim 1 : Develop and implement mentored research experiences at the rural partner institutions. These workshops and mentored experiences will serve as a first exposure for many rural students to opportunities in biomedical research within their communities and cultures. Thus, we will integrate the biomedical research enterprise with rural communities and cultures in Alaska.
Specific Aim 2 : Develop and implement summer biomedical research experiences for rural students. We will develop 2-, 6- or 12-wk summer research modules;an assortment of research experiences at varying levels will accommodate a step-wise integration of students into the biomedical research enterprise.
Specific Aim 3 : Establish the active, connected, and experiential (ACE) learning initiative. This initiative will integrate high impact learning approaches at UAF. Students will participate actively in introductory course work, synthesize learning during Connections courses, and experience biomedical research. The result will be improved outcomes for all students including those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Specific Aim 4 : Establish a Post-Associate Program in Biomedical Science. We will focus recruiting on rural students, not previously targeted for biomedical careers, and provide modularized options for program entry and exit, as well as courses focused on basic science and One Health. UA institutions are uniquely positioned to increase diversity in biomedical research training by increasing success of rural Alaskan students. We met with rural faculty and rural student support organizations to identify barriers to success for these students and to develop integrated approaches to reduce barriers.
Through integration of rural students into biomedical research training and the creation of two programs that focus on rural students in Alaska and beyond, the BLaST program Student Training Core will provide opportunities for increased success to students from rural Alaska and beyond, thereby increasing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.