The dictionary defines training as A process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job, resilience as The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens, and self-efficacy as The power to produce a desired result or effect. The goal of The Ohio State University DISCOVERY PREP is to strengthen all three of these elements in our postbaccalaureate scholars and to develop the belief in them that they will become skilled biomedical scientists who possess a sense of control over their environment, as well as the behavior needed to handle the challenging demands of graduate school. This is a competitive renewal application for years five through eight of a training program that will support seven postbaccalaureate scholars from underrepresented backgrounds pursuing entrance into a competitive graduate program in the biomedical sciences. Twenty-eight faculty members, one Associate Director of Career Counseling, and two resource staff provide not only intensive laboratory research training, but also relevant professional development guidance. The faculty research expertise is diverse, and is complemented by successful funding, publications, and training of Ph.D. students, some of whom have been from underrepresented backgrounds. The career-counseling component of the Program is excellent and contributes much toward enhancing resiliency and self-efficacy. During the four years of initial funding, the DISCOVERY PREP supported 17 scholars, which included an additional trainee added with cost-sharing support from the College of Medicine. All 17 scholars enrolled in a graduate program, of which eleven enrolled in a Ph.D., one in an M.S. program, two applied in 2014 for a 2015 enrollment, and two chose other forms of work in science. This yielded an enrollment success rate of 72%, excluding the Masters student, which will increase to 82% when the two late applicants are enrolled in 2015. Most of our scholars have gone on to pursue their graduate degree in programs throughout the US, with 30% remaining at The Ohio State University. Our scholars have been productive in publishing, and some graduates have already received fellowships and awards from their respective graduate universities, the NSF, or national organizations. We continue to revise and optimize our Program to meet the needs of our scholars so that they will become the diverse scientific workforce of the future, as well as diverse scientific leaders of the future. The renewal of this grant is critical to support our continuing efforts to promote research training, resiliency, and self-efficacy in postbaccalaureate scholars from underrepresented backgrounds so that they believe in their capabilities to become a scientific leader of tomorrow.
Cultural diversity at the Ph.D. level needs to be achieved to allow individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to benefit from the intellectual and economic advantages afforded a Ph.D. and to serve as powerful role models for others. The DISCOVERY PREP Program is designed for recent graduates who are from underrepresented groups and require additional post-baccalaureate research and academic enrichment activities to increase the likelihood of admission to, and graduation from, a highly competitive Ph.D. program in biomedical science research.
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