Phase II: The University of Texas at El Paso – BUILDing SCHOLARS

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With its strong institutional support for sustaining successful programs, the goal of BUILDing SCHOLARS is to continue the high momentum achieved during Phase I to contribute to the diversity of the U.S. biomedical research workforce, with large numbers of underrepresented students graduating and matriculating in excellent graduate programs, and with faculty achieving high level grant funding and impactful publications.

BUILDing SCHOLARS is a consortium of ten regional and extra-regional research partners and five regional 2-year and 4-year pipeline institutions, led by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The program provides students with opportunities for transdisciplinary training and is based on an asset bundling approach to help trainees overcome educational, financial, family, and social barriers that interfere with their research training. During Phase I, the BUILDing SCHOLARS program had a high manuscript output and graduated 58 students, 60 percent of whom have already entered either post-baccalaureate or graduate programs in biomedical fields or MD/PhD programs. Fifty-four BUILding SCHOLARS trainees from Phase I remain in the pipeline, and new cohorts of students will start during Phase II.

Phase I included early interventions through a course-based freshman year research-intensive program, provided research experiences at UTEP and research partner institutions for all trainees, and professional development to prepare students for graduate school. Pipeline partner students were engaged summer research experiences at UTEP and at research partner institutions. For faculty at UTEP and pipeline partner institutions, BUILDing SCHOLARS included faculty-mentoring-faculty activities to help them increase their research productivity through pilot projects, summer sabbaticals and connections with successful researchers at research partner institutions.

For Phase II, there are plans to continue to strengthen, support and institutionalize successful activities developed during the first phase, such as the freshman year research-intensive courses, research training for trainees and pipeline students, the research-teaching integration program, professional development workshops and multi-level mentoring. Partnerships with research and pipeline institutions will continue, and the program has added two partners to collaborate on student training and faculty mentoring. For faculty, the focus will be on grant writing coaching activities, summer sabbaticals for pipeline faculty, and submission of research publications. In addition, Phase II will include a strong dissemination strategy to not only publish articles on BUILDing SCHOLARS programmatic outcomes, but also to organize virtual conferences and workshops at national meetings to engage individuals at institutions interested in adopting BUILDing SCHOLARS successful interventions.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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