The number of Ph.D. students from diverse backgrounds is acutely underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral sciences in the United States despite the growing proportions of minorities in the population. Through participation in several underrepresented minority (UR)-focused mentoring programs, the Science Training for Advancing Biomedical Research (STAR)-PREP director brings unique insights (from a mentee's perspective) and a great understanding of the attributes required for being a successful mentor. This STAR- PREP is designed to provide aspiring UR biomedical scientists with a specialized but comprehensive training plan. Highly functional and dynamic individual development plans (IDP) will be employed to address the Scholars' weaknesses and strengthen their skills to increase their competitiveness leading to acceptance into top-notch Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. programs. We will take advantage of ongoing interactions with local UR- centered undergraduate programs and with various established programs including T32 grants on campus by incorporating into IDPs regular participation in T32-funded training activities. Our hypothesis is that active participation in an integrated multidimensional research, clinical and mentored research training program coupled with innovations in academic development will result in greater than 75% of PREP Scholars pursuing biomedical research careers.
Aim 1 is to ensure an outstanding biomedical research experience to build and refine the STAR-PREP Scholar's research skills. This will be accomplished through use of a diverse community of outstanding faculty and students, state-of-the-art technologies and innovations in interdisciplinary education and training in an atmosphere that explicitly emphasizes excellence and biomedical research.
Aim 2 is to strengthen and expand the STAR-PREP Scholar's academic portfolio to facilitate acceptance into a top-notch graduate program.
This aim will also support and guide the PREP Scholar thru every step of the graduate school application process, prepare the Scholar for the GRE test and provide direct experience in select Ph.D. courses. Through Aim 3, we will provide a set of high- quality professional development activities individualized for each STAR-PREP Scholar. PREP Scholars will participate in a variety of research poster presentation forums, scientific writing workshops, diversity seminars and attend/present at a national science conference.
Aim 4 will provide a continuous dynamic mentoring and community-building research-centered experience. Through this aim we propose to establish a sense of community through social and academic activities between Scholars, mentors and Ph.D. students. The success of each of our aims will be regularly assessed through individual diagnostic assessment tools administered by internal and external evaluators to ensure a positive and meaningful experience to successfully transition Scholars to graduate programs.
The STAR-PREP is intended to augment scientific education and research experience of underrepresented minority postbaccalaureates and the number of students that become accepted into biomedical-related Ph.D. or M.D.-Ph.D. programs and careers.