Cal Poly Pomona

RISE Program Overview

The 2009-2012 RISE program is a student development program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for minority-serving institutions. The long-range goal of the Cal Poly Pomona RISE program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students (URM) who complete Ph.D. degrees in biomedical and related disciplines. These programs may include, but are not limited to, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, bioinformatics, pharmacology, microbiology, molecular biology, etc. The RISE program will provide a comprehensive, integrated set of developmental and research intensive activities designed to prepare URM students for successful entry into Ph.D. programs and to increase their self-identification as members of the scientific research community.

Undergraduate and graduate, full-time minority students at Cal Poly seeking to pursue a PhD degree in the biomedical or related sciences, with a Science GPA of 3.0 or better, are invited to apply to one of the three RISE subprograms described below. The RISE Program is comprised of 3 inter-related subprograms, each serving a distinct population of Cal Poly Students. The three levels include: (1) Invitational, (2) Intensive-Undergraduate, and (3) Intensive-Graduate. A table overview is provided below with brief descriptions of the specifically served student population, duration, goals, and program specifics. A more detailed description of each program can be found on the main menu to the left.

Note: Students on a pre-medical track (MD) are not eligible for this program, as indicated by the National Institutes of Health.

RISE Invitational RISE Intensive-Undergrad
(Juniors, Seniors)
RISE Intensive-Graduate
(Master's students)

4 weeks in Summer plus activities during academic year.10 weeks in Summer 2009,plus following two academic years.10 weeks in Summer 2009,plus following two academic years.

10 weeks in Summer, plus following two academic years.

10 weeks in Summer, plus following two academic years.

Students will engage in skillbuilding activities that will help them in their academic coursework,begin to build their laboratory experience, and learn about biomedical careers

Program will lay the foundation needed for a student to be successful as a biomedical researcher. Refine academic skills, with a strong emphasis on the development of oral & written skills, and understanding of scientific literature, culminating in acceptance into a biomedical related PhD program

Concentrated effort on novel research experience in a productive biomedical research laboratory, culminating in a MS degree and acceptance into a biomedical-related PhD program

  • Workshop activities
  • Lectures/discussions in areas of biomedical research
  • Laboratory experiments with emphasis on research techniques
  • Weekly study groups
  • Academic advising
  • Research seminars
  • Research projects (summer:40hrs/wk for undergraduates and graduates; academic year: 20hrs/ week for undergraduates and graduates)
  • GRE preparation workshops
  • Poster and oral presentation workshops
  • Journal clubs
  • Grant and manuscript writing training
  • Completion of PhD program applications
  • Research seminars
  • Students will work on an independent research project, developing the laboratory skills, background knowledge, discipline, and persistence needed to obtain meaningful results which can be presented at a scientific meeting as either a poster or oral presentation.

RISE Objectives

  1. Academic support: Objective One is curricular in nature and focuses on providing critical support for RISE students that assures their academic success by creating a program of intense faculty mentoring, participation in study groups specifically targeted for minority students, and providing focused workshops, seminars, and research activities that are designed to sharpen the problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication (oral and written) skills of all RISE participants.
  2. Research Immersion and Laboratory Skill Development: Objective Two exposes RISE participants to the world of scientific research and helps them to develop the critical knowledge base and technical skills that they need to function as a productive member of the research community. This will be achieved through workshops focusing on the development of general research laboratory skills, shadowing other more established research students to learn techniques to be used in conducting their research project, and working with faculty mentors to develop their own research project. These experiences will culminate in summer and academic year independent research projects under the supervision of a Faculty Research Mentor (FRM).
  3. Professional Development: Objective Three provides a broad co-curricular context to gain knowledge of and hands-on experience with the general performance expectations associated with Ph.D. programs and familiarity with the various career paths available with a doctoral degree. There will be academic advising specifically geared toward matriculation of the students into Ph.D. programs. Program coordinators, workshop leaders and FRMs will work with the students to help them learn about GRE test taking skills, preparation of manuscripts, oral and poster communication of their research to the scientific community, facility with understanding the primary scientific literature, practice with critiquing and writing grant proposals, and exposure to the range of career opportunities for Ph.D. graduates in biomedical research. These professional development activities will culminate in the students applying to Ph.D. programs with an understanding of what these programs will involve and their career choices after completing their Ph.D.