Salish Kootenai College (SKC) is a 4-year tribal college on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. SKC offers bachelor's degrees, associate's degrees, and certificate programs to over 1,000 students, of which greater than 75% are from Native American and other minority groups. SKC's bioscience, bio-behavioral, and health-related programs are growing but continue to be small and lacking in adequate student research opportunities, student exposure to professional research environments and training, and advanced course work that would support students who wish to pursue advanced degrees in the biosciences or careers in biotechnology. Improving science curriculum offerings, providing undergraduate research opportunities for students, expanding and better equipping laboratory facilities, and exposing students to a variety of professional research environments will not only attract new students to SKC's science degree programs but will also foster more successful outcomes for those current students who are considering graduate studies or future careers in biomedical or health-related research. The purpose of this proposal is to use the NIH-NIGMS MBRS-RISE grant mechanism to complement faculty-driven bioscience, bio-behavioral, and health-related research initiatives at SKC by accomplishing the following four specific measurable objectives.
Specific aim 1 : Provide mechanisms of support for student research activities in biomedical, bio-behavioral, and health-related research projects.
Specific aim 2 : Offer students exposure to professional scientific environments, including conferences, workshops, and specialized training in biomedically related disciplines.
Specific aim 3 : Foster professional collaborations with experienced scientists at active research institutions and within SKC that will lead to SKC student placement in on-campus and off-campus summer internships and that will provide critical contacts for entering graduate degree programs.
Specific aim 4 : Integrate the above-listed RISE objectives with continued science program development leading to """"""""seamless"""""""" transfer programs in the biosciences, faculty enhancement, and baccalaureate level science degree programs at SKC. Given the composition of SKC's student population, implementation of this RISE program plan will result in increased minority student enrollment in the sciences. Successful progress through science degree programs will be enhanced by providing students with exposure to a variety of bioscience and health-related research environments, offering students opportunities for """"""""hands-on"""""""" training, and developing faculty-initiated research collaboration with experienced scientists at other research institutions, which will, in turn, allow SKC students the critical contacts often necessary to enter and be successful in research-based graduate studies at major colleges and universities. SKC has defined specific numerical goals for the course of its MBRS activities and will organize an external advisory committee to evaluate the college's progress during the MBRS funding period. By equipping a multi-user biosciences laboratory and implementing the herein proposed RISE plan, the MBRS goal of increasing minority participation in bioscience, bio-behavioral, and health-related research will be achieved at Salish Kootenai College.