The UCLA MSD Program develops academic survival skills, educates students about research, facilitates and funds research opportunities and provides critical assistance to promote academic success and advancement in the sciences. It is designed to serve students from admission to graduation and employs six synergistic components to address to the varied roadblocks to success. The Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS) is an academic enrichment and counseling program for freshman and sophomores. The Biomedical Sciences Enrichment Program (BISEP) exposes students to the many aspects of research during the summer after their freshman year. These two early intervention programs promote retention and are complemented by a quartet of programs that directly support students undertaking mentored research in UCLA laboratories. Center for Academic and Research Excellence (CARE) Fellows and CARE Science Engineering &Math (SEM) Summer Program supports beginning students, CARE Scholars supports advanced students, and MSD Scholars supports graduating seniors. Students can enter into this pipeline of opportunities at many points but all exit with a significant research experience that helps prepare them for graduate school. The goals of the UCLA MSD program over the next five years are to have 90% of PEERS students complete baccalaureate degrees in a life or physical science, to have 60% of PEERS and BISEP students take part in a faculty-mentored research experience prior to graduation, to have 60% of MSD research students complete a significant research project (undergraduate thesis) and to have 60% of MSD research students enter post baccalaureate or graduate programs leading to research degrees each year. The UCLA MSD Program builds on existing institutional commitments to provide an innovative program that is specifically designed to counter the forces that limit participation of underrepresented students in the sciences. By providing academic success tools and an introduction to biomedical research, access to entry level research opportunities and facilitating advanced research opportunities, the well-integrated UCLA MSD program increases the numbers of underrepresented students who successfully complete undergraduate biomedical degree programs, go on to graduate school in the biomedical sciences, and ultimately to successful careers in biomedical research where they will educate, train and mentor and serve as role models for future generations.
We need to train more biomedical research scientists from underrepresented groups at both the national and state levels. Attempts to achieve this goal have been hampered by the low participation of underrepresented minorities in the sciences. The UCLA MSD program provides the services necessary to retain underrepresented students in science and give them the research skills necessary to prepare them for entry into graduate school and a career in science.
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