A MULTIDISICIPLINARY MARC U-STAR PROGRAM AT UND This application seeks funding for a multidisciplinary Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Science Training and Research (MARC U-STAR) program at the University of North Dakota (UND). The goal for this program is to increase the number of undergraduate, underrepresented honor students in the biomedical and biobehavioral sciences who will go on to successfully complete PhD programs of study and begin a research career. UND has high numbers of underrepresented students enrolled in the biomedical and biobehavioral sciences. However, a paucity of underrepresented PhD prepared investigators exists. Given that no MARC U-STAR program resides in any of the Northern Plains states, the need for the MARC U-STAR program at UND is profound. The objectives for this research training program are: Objective 1: To graduate the brightest underrepresented students for successful entry into PhD programs by creating a ?U-STAR Learning Community? with intense academic advisement and structured research training preparation. Objective 2: To provide first semester underrepresented (UR) sophomore honors students with Pre-MARC informational and educational experiences to facilitate student success and entry into the MARC U-STAR Program. A ?Research Round-up? session will inform high achieving first semester sophomore UR students and their families of biomedical and bio-behavioral research training opportunities at UND. During the sophomore year, the MARC U-STAR program will: 1) equip high achieving UR students with time and stress management and critical thinking skills; 2) promote interactions among Pre-MARC students, MARC trainees, and faculty mentors through a dedicated ?U-STAR Learning Community;? and 3) offer sessions to help students navigate library resources, conduct literature searches, and read and understand scientific articles. Through these activities and intensive advisement, the goal is that highly qualified UR sophomore students successfully apply and complete the MARC U-STAR Program. We propose to select three MARC trainees in the first year and then six MARC trainees annually from the Pre- MARC student pool. The application review process will be conducted by the MARC U-STAR Advisory Committee using the following eligibility criteria: 1) Minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale; 2) Is an underrepresented student; 3) Must have completed 60 semester hours of undergraduate study; 4) Be a declared STEM, biomedical or biobehavioral science major; 5) Has an interest in being involved in a biomedical or biobehavioral research project; and 6) Indicates commitment to pursuing an advanced degree (PhD or MD/PhD) in the biomedical or biobehavioral sciences. After selection, the MARC U-STAR program will provide the trainees a structured research training program that includes: 1) Training in the Responsible Conduct for Research; 2) Course work in Skills for Student Success; Utilization of Library Resources; Scientific Writing, Communication, and Presentation; Research Ethics, and Research Instrumentation; 3) Mentored research experiences through matched placements in investigators? research laboratories 4) Intense Summer Research Experiences in a T32-equivalent research institution or government research laboratory; 5) Service Learning opportunities (e.g. Science Cafes or Science Fair judging) and 6) Presentation opportunities for scholarly dissemination (i.e. a podium presentation, poster or publication); and 7) Seminars on gaining entrance into graduate studies. We propose to select 27 UR, high achieving MARC trainees for two year appointments for the five years of the award. All programmatic, mentor, and mentee activities will be evaluated by a Program Evaluator with reports provided to the Advisory Committee. Our goal is to have 50% of MARC U-STAR Trainees enroll into a MD/PhD or PhD graduate program within three years of graduation with a baccalaureate degree.
With funding, a MARC U-STAR program at the University of North Dakota will provide a research experience that will impact most heavily on those who otherwise would not have such an opportunity, and will bring more underrepresented groups into biomedical and biobehavioral research careers.