This component of the grant, requested by the University of Texas at El Paso, will focus efforts on supporting the Student Training Core of the BUILDing SCHOLARS Center. The goal of this Core is to increase the number of individuals from diverse backgrounds who are well trained to pursue research careers in biomedicine. We will recruit high school students and Pipeline Partner students from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, states which are home to dense concentrations of Hispanic and Native American students and African American students from east Texas.
The specific aims are as follows: (1) Implement a comprehensive recruiting strategy to enroll freshmen, sophomores, and juniors from the region's High Schools as well as transfer students from pipeline partners to participate in the BUILDing SCHOLARS suite of programs, (2) Students will participate in a progressively advanced, writing-intensive and rigorous but flexible research training that starts at the freshman level to develop an early identity as a member of a broad biomedical research community, (3) Deliver periodic and comprehensive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) to every student participant. While most training programs target juniors and seniors, these activities are innovative because they target freshmen and sophomores. Moreover, traditional training programs in biomedical sciences are traditionally geared for students in biology and chemistry. The proposed program targets a broader range of disciplines, including biomedical engineering, psychology, sociology and public health sciences. The program also offers a formalized continuity from early in the student's academic career through graduation that also includes our pipeline and research partner connections, which will "enhance" student persistence through a multi-institutional program design. Finally, the BUILD program is grounded in the concept of an asset bundling framework which recognizes the interaction or synergistic relationship between needed assets to insure success in the training of undergraduate students from under-represented backgrounds.
Between the years 2000 and 2006, Hispanic applications for R01 funding constituted 3.2% of all R01 applications, which is less than the percentage of Hispanics in the US (Kaiser, 2011). According to the Pew Hispanic Center (2011), Hispanic students now make up 16.5% of all students enrolled in four year universities, which mirrors US Census figures. Addressing research skill development early in the college experience will be crucial in developing the next generation of minority R01 recipients.