The need to educate, train, and cultivate scholars from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering in the United States for the next revolution in biomedical knowledge is well-established. To enhance diversity in biomedical workforce, Georgia Tech (GT) ESTEEMED is an integrated plan and pipeline to prepare underrepresented students for a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in a STEM field with emphasis on biomedical engineering, then to excel as a biomedical researcher. We will provide tools to overcome these obstacles and set a foundation to achieve through to Ph.D. completion.
Aim 1. Infuse scientific inquiry and research mindset early. GT ESTEEMED scholars will be submerged early and often with positive research experiences, peer-to-peer mentoring, and goal-driven cohorts, to build supportive networks with Ph.D. and research career goals.
Aim 2 : Eradicate perceived barriers between students and professors by facilitating multiple faculty- scholar interactions in one-on-one and small group settings to promote discussions, career advice, and establishment of strong relationships.
Aim 3 : Train GT ESTEEMED scholars in exploration of difficult, open- ended, multi-disciplinary problems and communications of those results. Important skillset for success in a research career. We will lay this foundation with these initiatives: 1) Challenge, a summer bridge program prior to freshman year teaching scholars computer science, chemistry, and calculus in a residential program. 2) Pre-Challenge early summer program exclusively for ESTEEMED scholar team-building, networking with research active professors, and immersion in problem-based learning research experiences. 3) Academic year activities will include check-in sessions, integration into research lab groups, an ESTEEMED scholar led journal club, blogging experiences, and other professional development activities. 4) Summer research experience in Georgia Tech's Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), a program with 75% success rate of attending graduate school. 5) Junior year advancement into LSAMP Research Track and Petit Undergraduate Research Scholars Advanced Honors Programs that provide continued professional development and stipends for continued research engagement. Georgia Tech is uniquely suited to run this program and prepare ESTEEMED scholars to obtain Ph.D.'s. The biomedical engineering department is ranked #1 for undergraduates (2017 U.S. News & World Report), and GT has a strong record for increasing diversity and broadening participation being #2 in graduating African-Americans and Hispanic-American students with bachelor's engineering degrees and #1 for these underrepresented groups with graduate engineering degrees. Team of investigators are a tenured African-American male (Platt), a tenure-track quadriplegic assistant professor (Mitchell), and Assistant Dean of Engineering for Educational Innovation (Newstetter). Their complementary experience, networks, and expertise have prepared them to meet the goals of recruiting and mentoring underrepresented students and students with disabilities to successful Ph.D. completion and research careers.
The proposed research is relevant to public health because it seeks to educate, train, and cultivate scholars from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in science/engineering to complete PhDs and expand research enterprise to meet workforce demands of the United States for solving complex biomedical problems. This is relevant to NIH's mission to promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce and support research educational activities.