The primary goal of the MARC U*STAR program at UC at Santa Cruz is to recruit and prepare underrepresented (UR) students for entry into PhD programs in the biomedical sciences. This is achieved through increasing the rate at which UR undergraduates become involved in cutting-edge research. We provide training, experience and guidance towards the pursuit of Ph.D. degrees. Over the past five years, we have seen a dramatic demographic change in our student population at UCSC, more than doubling the number of UR STEM students on our campus. Thus, we have more honors students worthy of MARC support and a more diverse undergraduate population at the institution who can benefit from our expertise. We are requesting 5 years of new support at our current level of 14 MARC scholar trainee slots. We developed several new features of our program over the past five years, and we intend to continue with these proven training aspects. In addition, we are proposing four new project areas. These new specific aims are to: 1 - involve UR transfer students in research opportunities. The State of California Master Plan for Higher Education has made the community colleges an important stepping stone to a UC education. We will reach out to STEM transfer students interested in biomedical research and invite two to join MARC. All will be invited to join our Research Affiliates for Diversity (RAD). 2 - Develop an Honors pre-MARC program. We will directly identify honors UR students in the chemistry and biology intro series early in their sophomore year. No honors programs exist in the biomedical sciences on campus. The opportunity to have a faculty mentor will be a meaningful way to engage bright UR students and introduce them to research science. 3 - Institute team mentoring through individual development plans. We will institute Individualized Development Plans (IDPs) for MARC students. We will work with the faculty mentors, and the graduate students and postdocs who supervise the students, to develop a team approach to student mentoring. 4 - Train MARC Fellows to be prepared for new types of challenges when they enter graduate school, so that they are able to persist to a PhD. We are developing an activity called Facilitated Alumni Mentoring to ensure that our MARC students are prepared for the social and professional challenges they will face in graduate school.
Bringing people from different cultures with diverse life experiences to the research endeavor is an important component of maintaining the innovative edge of research science in the US. The primary goal of the project is to prepare undergraduate students from underrepresented groups for entry into doctoral programs leading to research careers in the biomedical sciences. MARC U*STAR trainees perform important research to advance our understanding of the mechanisms of life.
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