The objective of the Diversity Action Plan at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Genomic Program (DAPPG) is to guide undergraduate and recent college graduates from underrepresented (UR) groups into graduate school to pursue genomics research. The Diversity Action Plan will be developed and implemented in partnership with NHGRI T32 training programs in Computational Genomics, Genomic Medicine, and the Ethical, legal and social implications of genetics and genomics as well as a research program in sub-cellular genomics. This program especially emphasizes vertical integration of regional training, recognizing the geographic mobility restrictions common to many socio-economically disadvantaged UR groups. At least 10 UR scholars (7-10 summer students and 3 post-baccalaureate students), from the Greater Philadelphia area along with additional candidates from across the country, will be identified each year who are interested in genomics and genomic medicine research but lack the experience or expertise necessary for graduate or medical school training. Each scholar will be matched with a research mentor among the graduate training faculty as well as PhD/Postdoctoral level mentors from the T32 programs and provided with a significant one to two-year research project. An Individual Student Development Plan (IDP) is developed for each scholar to ensure that the scholar undertakes training appropriate to his or her own scientific needs and interests, including graduate or advanced undergraduate coursework. Scholars will also develop the skills necessary for success in graduate school by completing workshops in genomics and computational biology, grant writing, the responsible conduct of research, critical analysis of scientific literature, and oral and written presentation skills. Scholars will also participate in a one-on-one writing workshop with a professional writing instructor. Scholars will meet weekly as a group to discuss scientific journal articles and their own research, in order to further develop their skills in the critical evaluation of research and the delivery of scientific presentations, as well as to increase their exposure to research outside their own research groups. In addition, scholars will receive advising for the graduate school application process, including selecting programs, writing application essays, and practicing interviews. If necessary, scholars will take a GRE or MCAT preparation course. Scholars will also participate in various lunches and seminars with Penn faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who share their training experiences, on-going research, and academic paths. The ultimate measure of the program's success is the percentage of scholars who are admitted to PhD or MD-PhD training programs and pursue a research career. !
This project will increase the diversity of our nation's research scientists. Our program will prepare and inspire under represented minority and disadvantaged undergraduate and post baccalaureate trainees to pursue and succeed in research careers.