The University of Arizona (UA) MARC program provides unique research, mentoring, financial, and academic opportunities to upper-division underrepresented students who have interest and potential to pursue biomedical research careers, seeks to increase the number of such students entering Ph.D. programs, and provides opportunities to engage lower-division students and help them achieve a solid academic foundation. The specific objectives are 1) to attract 150 new students per year to participate in outreach activities 2) to decrease the number of students withdrawing or earning a D or lower in General Chemistry from 25% to below 20% and set a foundation for success in STEM courses 3) to have 85% of MARC trainees who enter, as of June 2017, and complete the MARC program matriculate in PhD programs or combined-PhD programs. UA MARC trainees, 16 per year, are a select group of honors underrepresented students from biomedically- relevant majors in 5 colleges throughout the UA campus. Outstanding, well-funded training faculty at the UA provide opportunities for research guidance and intensive mentoring using their training experience with undergraduates and commitment to training underrepresented students. Significant mentoring also is provided by the Program Director and co-Directors. Through the Minority Biomedical Research Colloquium, trainees meet outstanding scientists from other institutions as well as former UA MARC trainees in Ph.D. programs or Ph.D. graduates. Trainees attend workshops on responsible conduct of research and minority health disparities; take part in a scientific writing program; attend national science meetings; participate in intramural and extramural research; present posters at campus and national conferences; give oral presentations in the Research Colloquium, and attend workshops on the graduate application process. The outreach activities of the UA MARC program that impact a large number of students include a Careers in Math and Science Colloquium for incoming freshmen; a research colloquium for undergraduate students in biomedically-relevant majors; supplemental instruction in general chemistry, which gives students a solid foundation in a course that impacts numerous biomedically-relevant majors; and a new foundational course that promotes critical thinking skills and mathematical reasoning to increase the success of students in STEM majors. The UA MARC trainee program is selective, prestigious and the ?carrot? that encourages lower-division underrepresented students to do well academically, and the conduit that prepares outstanding underrepresented students to pursue careers in biomedical research.
Increasing the diversity of PhD scientists will bring diverse perspectives to bear on health issues and will result in more rapid advances in a field. The UA MARC program seeks to enhance the preparedness of underrepresented students in biomedical areas and to increase the number of students who pursue PhD programs, ultimately increasing the diversity of PhD-level scientists.
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