The primary goals of the BUILD Student Research Training Program are to recruit, retain, and prepare undergraduate underrepresented students (URS) for entrance into PhD programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The specific aims are to: 1) Establish a broad-reaching and culturally competent undergraduate research training program that builds on best practices from past and existing URS training programs at CSULB including: a) substantial financial and academic support;b) intensive mentored research lab experiences that begin early and expand as the URS progress in their academic program;and c) intimate small-group research training activities as part of a learning community (LC);and 2) Address the barriers URS experience as identified by our CSULB BUILD planning grant using innovative, evidenced-based URS best practices including: a) assets-based interventions designed to strengthen scientific efficacy, interest, and identity, which increase URS persistence in the research career pipeline;b) build awareness and utilization of cultural capital to increase the relevance of science;and c) expand the mentoring network and engage families in the URS'participation in the BUILD Student Research Training Program, resulting in a culturally-congruent science identity. Methods to achieve these aims include: a) engaging students in early research training in faculty labs at the sophomore year;b) creating a LC series that provides an intimate research training environment in the classroom;c) engaging students in progressive research skill-building courses that utilize project-based, active learning;d) supplementing the academic program with workshops and research colloquia;e) engaging students in innovative activities that make research experiences meaningful to their values and lives and build science efficacy;and f) cultivate a culturally-congnjent science identity by building awareness of the contributions of culture to health equity research, joining family support and cultural capital. Activities are bolstered by multi-tiered mentoring networks that include program directors, faculty research mentors, LC graduate assistant mentors, peer participants, and their families in the training program.
Doctoral training of underrepresented populations will transform the biomedical workforce and address the nation's growing scientific needs. Improving the relevance and quality of training so that the most talented underrepresented students become successful researchers will ensure research is informed by diverse researchers, and ultimately increase our nation's ability to achieve health equity for all.