The overall goal of the UCLA MARC U-STAR Program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduates who successfully enroll into graduate programs at highly selective, research-intensive institutions, and subsequently complete a Ph.D. in biomedical fields. Continued support is requested to train 16 students per year over the next 5 years, and to establish a new MARC PREP (Participation in Research Enrichment Program) that will enhance the depth and quality of MARC-eligible undergraduate students as well as broaden the institutional impact of the MARC training program at UCLA. This application builds on a highly successful program begun in 1996. Since 2003, 48 of 65 MARC trainees (74%) have entered into either PhD or combined PhD programs following graduation.
Specific aim 1 will increase the academic and social integration of MARC U-STAR eligible students through MARC PREP to solidify their identification as scientists, strengthen their preparation for scientific research and augment the representation of students majoring in the more quantitative sciences, and increase the percentage of applicants from pipeline programs. The measurable objectives are: 1) doubling the number of trainees from quantitative majors over the previous grant period; 2) increasing by at least 50% the number of pipeline students that become MARC U-STAR trainees; 3) having at least 50% of MARC PREP seminar students apply to MARC U-STAR; and 4) students participating in MARC PREP workshops will have higher than average grades in their introductory life science courses.
Specific aim 2 enhances the scientific knowledge and skill development of trainees to increase their understanding of cutting-edge scientific research, advance their scientific communication skills and develop their ability to think critically across scientific areas. The measurable objectives are: 1) all trainees making presentations at two or more conferences each year and 2) at least half of trainees applying for graduate research fellowships.
Specific aim 3 supports and motivates trainees to keep them engaged and increase their likelihood of graduating within a STEM field and remaining active in research. The measurable objectives are: 1) graduating all trainees with a STEM B.S; 2) at least half of trainees active in science outreach activities; and 3 at least half of MARC trainees having at least one planned interaction with MARC Alumni each year.
Specific aim 4 monitors and advises MARC U-STAR trainees to help them become more successful in their academic courses, promote successful preceptor mentoring, and increase the likelihood that they complete advanced degrees in biomedical research. The measurable objectives are: 1) at least half of MARC preceptors participating in journal club per year; 2) at least half of MARC trainees graduating with a cumulative GPA at or above 3.3; and 3) within 3 years of graduating from UCLA, at least 80% of MARC trainees entering highly ranked Ph.D. graduate programs. The cumulative effect of the proposed MARC U-STAR training and PREP development efforts should increase the pool of minority candidates for the best PhD research programs.
This MARC U-STAR application seeks continuing support for a highly successful MARC program to increase the number of underrepresented minority undergraduates who enroll in PhD biomedical graduate programs at highly selective institutions. Within the last 10 years, 48 of 65 UCLA MARC trainees (74%) have entered either PhD or combined PhD programs following graduation. The cumulative effect of the proposed rigorous research training and creation of a new Preparation for Research Enrichment Program (PREP) should further enhance the pool of minority candidates for the best PhD research programs.
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