Texas A&M University has a long history of training in the genetic sciences, with the first graduate degree having been awarded in 1919. The first Interdisciplinary Program (IDP) in Genetics was the first IDP established at Texas A&M in 1983, and has been at the forefront of diversifying not only the trainee pool that will contribute to a diversified workforce, but is also leading in the preparedness of students for diverse career paths. The Genetics IDP preceptors have world-renowned research programs providing unique opportunities for trainees to perform dissertation research in laboratories using cutting-edge technologies that are addressing important and impactful questions in modern genetics that impact human health and well-being, while also having extensive mentoring and career development opportunities. This innovative training program aims to be a model for ?preparing diverse scientists for a diverse workforce?. The Genetics IDP has developed several initiatives and partnerships that have resulted in a dramatic increase in diversity of applicants and matriculates to the program. Similar to the need for a diverse genetics workforce, efforts are needed to diversify preparedness for future workforce needs and career opportunities. Modern training in genetics and the sub-discipline of genomics not only requires mastering classical Mendelian and quantitative genetics, but expertise in big data, interpersonal interactions that is essential for convergence research, and project management that can be applied to diverse career opportunities. The training program, which will support 4 new trainees each year for 2-year appointments (8 concurrent trainees), is designed to train the next generation of scholar in modern genetics by providing contemporary skills and exposure to the increasingly broad range of career opportunities that these scholars will pursue in order to have a profound impact on the future of genetic sciences. The goals of the training program are to: 1) Provide doctoral students with balanced research and training opportunities that span the continuum from basic science to applied applications and the scientific knowledge needed to excel in modern genetic sciences irrespective of career path; 2) Offer a rigorous didactic training that provides the fundamentals in Mendelian and quantitative genetics, statistics and experimental design, rigor and reproducibility, biostatistics, big data computation skills, and a core set of competencies in communication, interpersonal interactions, and leadership and team science that will be required for successful careers in academia, industry and government; and 3) Ensure that trainees develop appreciation for, familiarity with, and exposure to various career opportunities for well-trained geneticists through mentorship and introduction to experts in various fields.
The genetics revolution and the associated advances in genome sciences are fundamentally reshaping the world during the 21st century. To accommodate these remarkable advances, modernization of training is needed, which includes recruiting, mentoring, and training individuals for a diverse workforce. The new scholars will contribute to diverse careers where doctoral-level geneticists and genomicists will be increasing essential leaders and team members to advance biomedical sciences in research andresearch-related areas tobenefitsociety.