This proposal entitled Neuroscience Research Opportunities to Increase Diversity (NeuroID) from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus aims to increase the opportunities available for undergraduate students in the area of Neurosciences. This proposal builds upon the experiences gathered during the current funding period to enhance and strengthen the mentoring and training activities of the NeuroID program, incorporating an emphasis in developing active-learning skills and strengthen emotional competence. NeuroID takes advantage of the strong Neuroscience expertise among UPR investigators and fortifies the underlying neuroscience network that joins undergraduate students, island investigators and their collaborators in mainland institutions. The main goal of the NeuroID program is to increase diversity in the neurosciences by establishing a cohort of interested students that will receive academic and professional training in neuroscience-related research. The selected students will be Hispanics from different gender, race, social status and physical needs. The core of the program is a comprehensive research experience for undergraduate students based on a research-with-purpose training philosophy. The training program consists of three major components: (1) Research Experience - An intense research experience during the academic year and two research summer experiences: one at the UPR and the other in a laboratory at an institution in the mainland USA that have active T32 training grants in neuroscience and/or excellent track record in recruiting and training underrepresented minorities. (2) Academic training - an academic program based on active learning activities, seminars, workshops and selected courses to enhance their knowledge in neurobiology, quantitative biology and understanding of a research career. (3) Student development activities - Participants will enter a mentoring program that includes community outreach activities, writing in science, oral presentations and career counseling to enhance their professional capabilities. The proposed activities together with an established mentoring program with ethnic and race-representative members of the Neuroscience community as role models will serve to increase the student competitiveness and enhance their interest in continuing a research career in neuroscience. The NeuroID program will extend the impact of other successful programs at the University of Puerto Rico, not only by focusing on the neuroscience field but also by greatly expanding the program to students from primarily-undergraduate institutions in the San Juan metropolitan areas, which increases the pool of available applicants as well as providing an inclusive and broader training program.
The main goal of the NeuroID program is to increase diversity in the Neurosciences by establishing a cohort of interested students that will receive academic and professional training in neuroscience-related research and developmental activities. Specifically, the NeuroID program will be primarily training dedicated Hispanic undergraduate students, which at the end the program will pursue a research career in Neuroscience. The core of the program is a comprehensive research experience for undergraduate students based on an established research-with-purpose training philosophy that integrates research and community outreach activities, to enhance empathy, social responsibility and self-motivation skills. At the end, students will have the necessary research, academic and professional skills to succeed in a research career in neuroscience.
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