The Brooklyn College MARC USTAR program serves a large and diverse institution including many underrepresented students who can help address our country's need to increase diversity in the scientific workforce. Our program's MARC USTAR goals are to increase substantially the research training of students from nationally-recognized under-represented groups and prepare them for successful entry into and graduation from high quality Ph.D. programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences for entry into research positions. In the current cycle, a total of 6 MARC Fellows have obtained PhD or combined MD/PhD degrees with several due to defend soon. Another 15 Fellows are enrolled in or soon will enter doctoral programs at high-caliber research institutions. Eight Fellows are doing short-term targeted post-baccalaureate work to improve their credentials for competitive acceptances to high quality doctoral programs;the program's goal is not just doctoral acceptances, but those at the best institutions. The credentials of current Fellows are higher than ever, and the program has a high-level of institutional support for accomplishing the goals of the program. In this renewal proposal, we describe activities that will continue our current successful record of graduating well-trained URM students who are admitted to biomedical and behavioral doctoral programs at our nation's leading research universities. This will be accomplished by focusing on having our students in settings where they get training doing excellent research in the labs of well-trained, externally-funded faculty advisors during the academic year and in summers. In addition to research training, elements of the program will focus on insuring that our students are developing the best possible credentials for acceptance into high-caliber, competitive research doctoral programs through workshops and activities to develop their skills at writing proposals for nationally-competitive scholarships and fellowships and by fostering excellent scientific communication skills including critical reading and analysis and effective oral and written communication. The program will also help Fellows acquire the professional and personal skills to insure that Fellows not only enter high quality doctoral programs but thrive in and graduate from them. We have also reconfigured our pre-MARC component to better develop the talent in the substantial pool of undeclared URM STEM students who are in their first two years of college;our institutional research shows with the rigt support and programs, these students can be assisted to succeed academically in historically difficult courses and also become interested and motivated to pursue research careers about which they know little on entry to college. With these two prongs, a MARC Fellows program aspiring to develop the highest quality candidates for doctoral study and a program to foster the development of many more qualified students in the general student population, our MARC USTAR program will contribute to the national need to increase the numbers of URM research scientists.
The development of more under-represented minority biomedical and behavioral scientists will have a beneficial impact on public health in the United States. The country has many pressing health problems that are particularly acute among minority communities. Progress toward resolving these issues will depend on developing the most talented and diverse scientific research workforce, one who will place a priority on helping diverse communities achieve positive outcomes.
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