The Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) at the University of Montana proposes to continue its Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) experience for undergraduate science students (R25 ES022866). The SURP experience will provide undergraduate students an authentic immersion into conducting research similar to that experienced by graduate students in environmental health sciences. Students will also receive training in Environmental Toxicology and Biomedical Statistics. The program will provide the students with additional training to give them confidence and guidance to pursue graduate education, with an emphasis towards environmental health sciences. These goals will be accomplished by having students work on relevant research topics of interest to them and developed by experienced investigators. Furthermore, specific additional training will be provided in an interactive environment. Students will also be given information and guidance to apply to graduate schools and enter graduate training. We intend to provide students of outstanding potential the opportunity to experience high quality environmental health research activities. To address the need for environmental health specialists who represent a diversity of social and cultural backgrounds we will actively recruit students from disadvantaged and/or underrepresented groups. The CEHS is well positioned to execute such a program, building on a rich portfolio of appropriate laboratory and field-based research in environmental health sciences, and on past and current programs that focus on undergraduate education and research. The goals of the program will be accomplished by: 1) Recruiting each year 5 undergraduate students who have expressed a strong interest in pursuing a research career in environmental health sciences or related field and paired with the appropriate faculty mentor and participate in an ongoing research project in the environmental sciences; 2) Providing background training to improve the participants? preparedness for graduate school and encourage their graduate study in environmental health sciences. Students will receive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research, guidance in graduate school applications and background in grant writing, writing skills and developing an oral presentation, which will be their culminating event; 3) helping students submit abstracts to present posters for the Society of Toxicology annual meeting; and 4) Evaluating whether the program achieves the goals of the program for the students and mentors.
This project will recruit 5 undergraduates each summer to spend 10 weeks conducting intensive research in active environmental health science laboratories at the Center for Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Montana. The Summer Undergraduate Research Program will also provide a number of supportive educational activities in order for the students to be prepared for successful careers in graduate education and careers in research.