A prosperous 21st Century society requires a highly skilled workforce in areas that drive economic growth particularly in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While America has for decades been able to attract some of the best and brightest foreign STEM talents, the nation has neglected to build a strong homegrown STEM workforce. Now a rapid demographic change is underway where individuals that are currently labeled as minorities and are underrepresented in the STEM workforce will soon be in the majority. Additionally, fierce competition for international STEM talents will increase and will leave America at risk to loose its leadership in scientific research and technological innovation. Thus, building the American STEM workforce of the future should be a priority! Effective training opportunities must be developed to specifically engage individuals from groups currently underrepresented in the STEM workforce. We established such a research-training program in 2007 and recruited undergraduate students from underrepresented minority (URM) and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities nation-wide. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supported our efforts and 213 students were trained in biomedical research relevant to the mission of NIDDK. Close to 90% of our alumni majored with a STEM degree and 75% of them entered graduate school. The majority (69%) entered or has since completed a doctoral degree program (MD, PhD, MD/PhD or equivalent). Fifteen percent of graduates are in a gap year (i.e., post-bac program, employment etc.). We consider this a highly successful program outcome! We propose to continue our effective recruitment and research-training strategy, but we will build a more comprehensive career development and mentoring component in order to provide our alumni with stronger support to navigate their career paths. We will organize a Pre-Internship Conference to hold interactive career development workshops. Students will complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to develop achievable scientific, academic and professional goals. Interns and their research mentors will join the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) to foment a long-term mentor ? mentee relationship. A series of interactive video focused on the diversity of STEM career paths will be created. Finally, the impact of these new activities on student outcomes will be evaluated.

Public Health Relevance

We will provide research training and career development for up to 23 undergraduate students from underserved communities interested in a STEM career each year. Students will spend 10 weeks in state of the art biomedical research laboratories and perform hands-on experiments relevant to the research mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). They will participate in face-to-face career development workshops and build a research mentor - mentee relationship using the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) to nurture their academic and professional progression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1)
Program Officer
Rivers, Robert C
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Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
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