Our program's goal remains increasing the diversity of students pursuing PhDs in STEM fields and a research career in biomedical sciences. We have developed activities for high achieving underrepresented (UR) students that are designed to hone their talent and professional skills in preparation for excelling in subsequent PhD (or PhD/MD) programs and careers in biomedical-relevant areas. Our strategy involves recruiting 4 juniors/yr and providing them with advising, academic, and research activities that will enable them to achieve the following: (a) GPAs > 3.5 (honors) in their major & graduation with cumulative GPAs > 3.25; (b) GRE scores in the top 50th percentile; (c) increased scientific research expertise via intensive research experiences, including summer research at another institution, facilitated journal clubs, and interaction with campus and visiting scientists; (d) enhanced oral & written presentation skills via specific assignments, research presentations, and peer & instructor feedback; (e) maintenance/enhanced commitment to biomedical research careers; (f) exposure to the broader scientific community via attendance at visiting scientist presentations and national meetings; (g) increased awareness of graduate school application requirements, & improved interviewing skills via practice and feedback from our Advisory Committee; and (h) entry into PhD or PhD/MD programs within 2 years of graduation at a percentage of 75%. To achieve these goals, we will maintain our successful pre-MARC curriculum (BUSP), funded primarily by campus resources with some augmentation from our NIH-IMSD grant. BUSP provides a rich pool for recruiting MARC Scholars. We will also: (a) expand efforts to recruit outstanding students from those who did not participate in BUSP; (b) enhance MARC components, including refining the advising component by establishing clearer guidelines for academic & research balance during the academic year, assisting students in crafting individual development plans, and increasing emphasis on graduate school application requirements and processes; (c) strengthen the academic/professional skills component of the program through additional writing and oral activities (e.g., NSF fellowship application, additiona research presentations, development of elevator/ airplane explanations of research projects); (d) expand student exposure to research by inviting UR postdoctoral fellows to present a research seminar and discuss their career development/path and by providing MARC seniors with the option of presenting their research at a national conference in their discipline with thei research preceptor (vs. returning to ABRCMS); (e) build connections to the next stage in their academic careers by pairing them with an UR graduate student mentor; and (f) add a community outreach component to broaden the program's impact and enhance the MARC Scholars' leadership skills while encouraging UR students at all levels to participate in science. We anticipate that the long-term outcome of our MARC U-Star activities will be an increased pool of highly competitive, diverse candidates who matriculate into outstanding biomedical PhD and/or dual degree programs.
The goal of our proposal is to increase the diversity of students pursuing a PhD in a STEM field and a research career in the biomedical sciences. To achieve this goal, we have developed a series of activities for high achieving underrepresented students - activities that are designed to facilitate the development of their talent and professional skills in preparation for excelling in their subsequent PhD (or PhD/MD) programs and careers in science areas that have biomedical relevance.
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