UTSA - The University of Texas at San Antonio

05/21/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/21/2018 05:22

UTSA receives $7.7 million to train underrepresented minorities and financially disadvantaged students for research careers in science

(May 21, 2018) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has received a five-year, $7.7 million grant to support its Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. The program, which was founded in 2000, assists underrepresented students in attaining their doctoral degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

'The RISE Program transforms the lives of our students,' said Edwin Barea-Rodriguez, UTSA Associate Dean for Student Success and Instructional Innovation and director of the RISE program. 'It provides a great opportunity for our undergraduates to receive the training and support that they need to pursue a Ph.D. when they graduate from UTSA. It also increases opportunities for UTSA to diversify its doctoral programs and provides support for our doctoral trainees.'

RISE currently supports eight undergraduate who are interested in pursuing careers as research scientists by giving them opportunities to work in UTSA laboratories and develop research experience with faculty mentors until their graduation from UTSA. It also provides training and financial support for 20 Ph.D. students as they complete their degrees in biomedical science. Beginning in fall 2019, the program will support five additional Ph.D. students.

The program is designed to ensure that talented and motivated minority or disadvantaged students are able to obtain the experience and skills they need to succeed in research-intensive careers.

All RISE students pursue their own original research and present their findings at scientific conferences while they are enrolled at UTSA. That experience introduces the students to a broad range of scientific disciplines and exposes them to networking opportunities with representatives of some of the nation's top research universities.

Additionally, RISE undergraduates participate in professional development courses that teach them how to create a curriculum vitae, develop a research poster, give an oral presentation, read a scientific paper, design an experiment, ace a graduate program interview and many other critical qualities necessary for students who want to enter doctoral programs.

'This is wonderful news for UTSA and its students,' said Gail Taylor, assistant program director of RISE. 'We are proud that the RISE program will continue to launch our UTSA undergraduate and Ph.D. students into high level careers that improve the nation's health, education, safety and economy.'

Since the program's founding, dozens of minority and underrepresented students at UTSA have gone on to pursue research careers at the University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Emory University, UCLA, Michigan State University, UT Health San Antonio and UTSA.

'As medicine continues to rapidly evolve, I'm glad to see San Antonio emerging as a leader in educational opportunities to create the next generation of medical professionals,' said U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro. I welcome this grant which will generate opportunities for students in biomedical sciences, especially those who are underrepresented in the field, and support vital research that will help people across our nation.'