The long-term objective of this proposal is to Enhance Cross-disciplinary Infrastructure Training at Oregon (EXITO) by aligning institutions and faculty from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the U.S. Pacific Islands to support the development of innovative undergraduate research training programs. We will achieve our goal by enhancing infrastructure of participating institutions to increase the number of undergraduate and underrepresented students pursuing biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research careers. At Portland State University we will work with the University Studies general education program, the Urban Honors program, the McNairs Scholars, Louis Stokes Minority Alliance Participation, and Portland Bridges to Baccalaureate to enhance undergraduate research training programs. EXITO will work closely with four local community colleges (3 in Oregon and 1 in Vancouver Washington) to enhance institutional agreements that will result in more underrepresented students transferring to PSU to pursue careers in biomedical programs.EXITO will also expand undergraduate training opportunities for students from American Samoa Community College and Northern Mariana College to participate in EXITO activities such as curricular alignments, tuition agreements, being part of research learning communities, mentoring and engaging with faculty. We engage students and faculty from the University of Guam, University of Hawaii, and University of Alaska, Anchorage to permit reciprocal opportunities in undergraduate research training and development of research learning communities. EXITO will leverage ongoing intervention research and services at PSU and participating institutions to actively engage with students with disabilities and youth who are or have been part of the Foster Care System to take part in experiential learning activities leading to research careers.Lastly, EXITO will align ongoing activities between PSU and OHSU, a research intensive institution to strengthen pathways to biomedical research, education, and community engagement. The proposal is unique because it will transform how underrepresented students from diverse universities, including transfer students, can enhance their engagement in undergraduate research with clear pathways for success.
EXITO proposes to increase career research pathways for underrepresented students in biomedical sciences by transforming general education instruction, engaging faculty and students in research learning communities, and leveraging existing training programs. EXITO will engage students from multiple racial/ethnic backgrounds, disability status, and lifetime experiences to take part in hands-on research, senior capstone, and paid research experiences. Career and research mentors will support student success.