The major goal of the RISE program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented (UR) groups in biomedical and behavioral research who enter and complete Ph.D. programs and who obtain postdoctoral research positions. Since 2000, 63 Hunter RISE undergraduate (UG) trainees have entered PhD or MD/PhD programs, 51 RISE graduate students completed PhDs, and 39 of them moved into postdoctoral research and/or tenure-track faculty positions. Overall, 22 RISE trainees have obtained tenure-track faculty positions. Based on assessment of outcomes from the last three cycles, we propose a training program for 17 UR undergraduates and 14 UR Ph.D. students per year in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Psychology. We propose modifying our program to address barriers to trainee retention in biomedical research trajectories by 1) reaching early into students' UG education to cultivate a UR student pool for recruitment to RISE and retention in research training at Hunter; and 2) to build self-efficacy, science identity, and resilience in RISE trainees. For RISE UGs, we focus on a 3-year program, and expanded outreach to early year Hunter UGs in collaboration with Hunter's new Skirball Science Learning Center. Our programming will utilize the routes to building scientific self-efficacy and self-identification identified in recent studies, including validation of performance accomplishments, vicarious learning from peers and role models, social persuasion, addressing affective/emotional factors that impact retention, and incorporation of students' personal and cultural context. At the Ph.D. level, we seek to assist students in completing their Ph.D. program training milestones, including first and second doctoral exams, and ultimately, defending their dissertations. We will foster their ability to become independent investigators, via programming that will help them develop 1) their scientific identity, 2) critical thinking skills, 3) scientific writing, 4) oral communication effectiveness, and 5) successful mentor- mentee relationships. These components will include the writing of grant proposals, data visualization and exploration, preparing for postdoctoral positions, and developing strategies to overcome psychological barriers to completion of program milestones. Through these efforts, we aim for 80% degree completion by RISE trainees, with 80% of UGs entering PhD programs and 90% of RISE PhD trainees obtaining a postdoctoral research position in academic, government, or industry research. We also aim for our contributions to increase Hunter's baseline of UR science student BA graduation rate, PhD program entry rate, and (over the long term) PhD completion by Hunter UR alumni. Our proposed program was developed from evaluation data, student, mentor, and administrator inputs, and support from the College's institutionalization of RISE initiatives. Progress will be monitored via trainees' individualized development plans and program evaluation efforts in collaboration with Hunter's Office of Assessment.
Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) recognizes the importance of diversifying the US biomedical workforce. The Hunter College RISE Program will provide research training in biomedical areas to undergraduate and Ph.D. students. Thus, this program will educate and train the next generation of scientists who engage in research to benefit public health.
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