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Objectives

  • Enhance the diversity of the USD Basic Biomedical Sciences (BBS) graduate program recruiting students from non-majority groups, i.e. American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, first-generation college students, rural students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Prepare the next generation of biomedical Ph.D. students to be successful, independent scientists that are also prepared for a variety of career paths. This is accomplished by integrating traditional elements STEM graduate training, science courses and mentor-driven research, with professional development activities relevant to fields such as biotechnology, intellectual property rights, science writing and editing, and education/academia.
  • Enhance the mentoring skills of the Basic Biomedical Sciences faculty, as well as staff and students, so that these mentors can carry out a more structured, but still personalized, training program for their mentees, understand how to incorporate principles of inclusive excellence into their training and prepare students for career paths that may lead to careers outside of academia.

Key Activities

  • Active recruitment of a diverse group of student followed by a holistic application process and practices to improve retention, e.g., cultural competency training for the student and faculty, and peer mentoring for students within the training program.
  • Rigorous scientific training that promotes independent thinking and hypothesis-driven research, reproducibility and responsible conduct in research.
  • Development of written and oral communications skills including workshops on how to reach professional and general audiences.
  • Professional development through “microcredential” classes that allow students to take graduate courses in the Beacom School of Business, Knudson School of Law, School of Education and Department of Communication Studies.
  • Opportunities for internships and informational interviews.
  • Opportunities for a competitive experience with the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition. This provides the student with a chance to communicate their research to a non-specialized audience in just three minutes.
  • Three years of stipend support and tuition remission.
  • Workshops aimed to promote knowledge of scientific careers outside academia and development of career-building skills. Examples of past workshops include:
    • Jennifer Griffiths, Editorial Development Manager for the Americas at the Royal Society of Chemistry, discussed transitioning from scientific research to publishing.
    • Dr. Richard Tankersley, Interim Vice-Chancellor for Research & Economic Development at UNC Professional Development Workshop, discussed science communication and lead students in exercises to improve communication skills to scientific and general audiences.
    • Dr. Jo Schweinle, MD, Senior Medical Officer for BARDA, discussed careers in academia, the private sector, and government work related to national responses to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.