Continued economic growth in the U.S. will be critically dependent on a pool of scientifically trained workers. Current predictions suggest that student participation in science and engineering is decreasing. However, there exist of pool of students that have traditionally been underrepresented in these fields, minority students. Significant efforts to recruit and train such students could lead to increased representation of these groups in science and engineering, and will also increase the number and pool of scientifically trained workers in the U.S. Current efforts to increased participation of groups traditionally not represented in science include activities that aim at increasing recruitment and preparation of such students for graduate school entrance. However, little effort has been made in retention of such students. The goal of this proposal is to implement a program between The Pennsylvania State University and Alcorn State University, to prepare and more importantly, retain students traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences in the U.S. In pursuit of that goal, the objective of this application is to develop a comprehensive program that effectively increases the training opportunities and skill set of select Alcorn State University students, increasing their preparation for the rigors of graduate school, enhancing the research opportunities of select faculty at Alcorn State. Our rationale is that more effective preparation and retention strategies will lead to increased numbers of minority students who are traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. We have two specific objectives: 1) Recruitment of select Biological Sciences Masters degree program students at Alcorn State University to participate in the Bridges program at Alcorn State and Penn State, and 2) facilitate faculty exchanges between Alcorn State and Penn State in order to update research skills and enhance research breadth of faculty at Alcorn State. Using a combination of strategies designed to enhance retention of minority students in graduate school, we expect that to attain increased numbers of students transitioning from the Masters program at Alcorn State into PhD programs, particularly at Penn State. More importantly, we expect that these efforts will result in increased retention and receipt of PhD by students traditionally underrepresented in biomedical sciences. This will have a significant impact on the increase in the pool of scientifically trained workers in the U.S. who can contribute to continued research and development. ? ? ?
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