Spelman College has a reputation as one of the leading educators of African American women in the sciences, and is designated by the National Science Foundation as a Model Institution for Excellence in undergraduate mathematics and science education. On average, 34 percent of Spelman women major in the natural sciences, and mathematics; 30 percent of the annual graduating class are awarded degrees in these disciplines; and since 1988, Spelman has witnessed a 57 percent increase in the number of science majors pursuing doctoral degrees. Coupled with student success, Spelman faculty in the sciences are active researchers and administer grants that not only help to advance scholarship in their respective disciplines, but also provide students with vital research training experiences for graduate study. The long-term goal of this project is to encourage and enable Spelman students to choose biomedical research as a career goal. The overall purpose is to significantly increase the number of African American women contributing to the nations biomedical research enterprise. To significantly increase the number of Spelman students who choose biomedical research as a career, we are striving to create an enabling """"""""research culture"""""""" on campus. A guiding principle of this project is that students need to be involved in research activities early in, and as a continuing part of, their undergraduate training, and that they need faculty mentors in these research activities. As the biomedical faculty at Spelman develop their own research programs through other mechanisms, we are developing parallel strategies to enable them to continue significant mentoring activities. Our proposed strategy is to hire key personnel to help develop faculty and student capabilities for biomedical research. To these ends, three goals have been established for the proposed RISE program. These are: 1. To increase student awareness of and interest in biomedical research early in their academic careers, and provide a """"""""research culture"""""""" that fosters this interest. 2. To develop the ability of biomedical research faculty and students to incorporate modern computer and information technology into their research and teaching activities. 3. To develop the routine use of modern biomedical research techniques by faculty and students at Spelman College. A series of eight linked developmental activities has been proposed that will lead a student from her initial curiosity about research, through a structured training program, to independent research, and GRE preparation. We believe this structured process will significantly increase the number of Spelman women who pursue a career in biomedical research.
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