Integration of Research, Mentoring, Role Modeling and Professional Skill-Building to Prepare Students for PhD Programs in Biomedical Research
The CPP RISE Program is designed to integrate experiences in independent research, faculty and peer mentoring, role modeling and professional skill-building to prepare qualified underrepresented minority (URM) science students for advancement to successful PhD careers in biomedical research. The goal of the Program will be to increase the number of URM students admitted to doctoral programs and to give them the academic and research preparation that they need to complete their PhD. To accomplish this goal, we are focusing on four critical objectives: 1) increase Research-Specific Skills and Knowledge needed to become independent researchers; 2)increase student confidence in achieving their doctoral degree by integrating Mentoring, Advisement and Communities of Practice; 3) deepen student and family awareness of their career options through Career Discovery and Role Modeling; and 4) achieve competency in Research-Complementary Professional Skills. The Program includes both summer and academic year activities for three progressively more demanding levels: RISE Invitation for undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors who want the opportunity to do an introductory research project to determine their level of interest in doing research (one year program); 2) RISE Intensive Undergraduate for sophomores and juniors who have a strong desire to pursue a research career (two year program); 3) RISE Intensive Graduate for Master's students who have made the commitment to pursue a research career (two year program). Peer Mentor teams will be established and will be composed of one Invitation, one Intensive Undergraduate and one Intensive Graduate student, supervised by a Faculty Research Mentor (FRM). The summer session will initiate the Program with students having an opportunity to concentrate on RISE laboratory and workshop activities for 10 weeks (Intensive students) or 6 weeks (Invitation students). They will be able to build supportive relationships with one another and with the RISE faculty during this first summer by attending Friday workshops as a single cohort on topics including Biohazards and Chemical Safety, Animal Care, Time Management, Scientific Ethics, Guest Speaker seminars and RO1 Campus Coordinator visits. For the Invitation students, from Monday through Thursday in the summer, they will do discovery-based laboratory experiments (weeks 1-3) followed by team mini-research projects (weeks 4-6). During the academic year, each Invitation student will be mentored by an FRM and their Intensive student Peer Mentoring colleagues to help them execute a research project. During the first summer Intensive Undergraduate and Graduate students will spend Monday through Thursday on their independent research project supervised by the FRM which they selected prior to the start of the Program. Intensive students will also participate in a Journal club and Grant Writing workshops during the summer and academic years. During the academic years of the program, the Intensive students will continue their research project under the supervision of their FRM. The Intensive Graduate students will be expected to achieve a higher level of research output than the Intensive Undergraduate students given their more advanced level of academic preparation and their focused academic course requirements. To expose both Undergraduate and Graduate Intensive students to an RO1 environment, these students will spend their second summer doing a research project at an RO1 institution, becoming more confident in their ability to succeed in the RO1 environment. It is anticipated that all the Intensive students will present their research results at scientific conferences with possible publication in peer reviewed journals. And finally, since there is a strong need to mobilize substantial family support to help the URM student progress along their educational pipeline, we will have two RISE Family Days. The first one at the start of the Program will be to familiarize the families with the overall Program activities, and to hear from former RISE students who are either in PhD programs or who have earned their PhD. During the second Family Day at the end of each academic year, the students will present their research in lay language for their families. During the academic year, the students will also interview their family members about their views on science education and bring a member(s) of their family to CPP to see what they are doing in the laboratory. Through all of these integrated activities, it is anticipated that the Program will provide the support needed for the students to successfully participate in biomedical research, increasing the likelihood that the participants will complete the PhD and continue on into biomedical research careers.
Note: Students on a pre-medical track (MD) are not eligible for this program, as indicated by the National Institutes of Health.