In the last decade the University of Iowa has graduated only 38 underrepresented minority M.S. and Ph.D.s, even though the percentages of minorities graduating with bioscience B.S. degrees are similar to non-minorities. We hypothesize that students are not appropriately prepared and/or informed for entrance into competitive postgraduate degree bioscience programs. To address this, the overall goal of the University of Iowa Initiative for Minority Student Development, the Iowa Biosciences Advantage (IBA) program, is to effectively recruit and retain underrepresented minorities aiming to matriculate into biomedical research training programs leading to Ph.D.s, Ph.D./M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., or M.P.H./Ph.D.s. The breadth and strength of research programs within the biomedical research community of the University of Iowa provides an enriched setting to expose students early in their undergraduate careers to the myriad of opportunities available in the participating colleges.
Our specific aims are: 1) to improve diversity of gifted URM students interested in bioscience graduate careers, over and above state means. We will also recruit from within the University of Iowa, focusing on URM candidates already in research laboratories, 2) assist students in making successful high school-first year transitions by providing entering URM students with diverse program initiatives designed to develop students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes, as well as their personal identity, 3) to expose URM biosciences majors to mentored research to promote interest in bioscience Ph.D. programs. We will foster mentoring relationships between IBA students and successful biomedical research faculty, and 4) to provide professional and leadership opportunities to enhance progression into graduate and leadership positions. To achieve these objectives requires the concerted efforts of IBA staff, the Admissions Office, undergraduate faculty, academic advisors, student support services, and support of the participating colleges and departments.
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