The UCLA Maximizing Student Development (MSD) Program is an innovative and integrated pipeline of programs designed to support the diverse undergraduate population of science students at UCLA. The UCLA MSD Program develops academic survival skills, educates students about research, and facilitates research opportunities. The suite of programs serves students from the time of admission to their graduation from UCLA and employs four synergistic components to address 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. PEERS students participate in collaborative learning to improve their grades, attend seminars to improve retention and are introduced to research. The Biomedical Sciences Enrichment Program (BISEP) exposes students to the many aspects of research during the summer after their freshman year and engages them in laboratory methods to help prepare students for research lab entry. Students from PEERS and BISEP programs then matriculate into Center for Academic and Research Excellence (CARE) Scholars, which supports sophomore and junior level students who carry out faculty mentored research projects. Graduating CARE seniors join MSD Scholars, a capstone program that includes thesis research and a course in ethics. MSD Scholars also enroll in classes that help MSD Scholars apply to and prepare for graduate school. Major goals of the UCLA MSD program over the next five years include: 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 75% of MSD research students complete a significant research project (undergraduate thesis) and to have 60% of MSD Scholars students enter PhD programs in the biomedical sciences 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. These students 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 to give them the research skills necessary to prepare them for entry into graduate school and a career in science.
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