Colorado PROFILES, The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI)
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North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a Historically Black University (HBCU) located in the Research Triangle of North Carolina. It was recently ranked number one of state supported HBCUs and number 10 out of 81 HBCUs by the US News and World Report survey. NCCU does not grant doctoral degrees. Surrounded by research intensive universities and pharmaceutical industries, long term collaborations have formed to support a productive research program. The University has two state-of-the-art research Institutes: the Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI) with basic and translational science programs, and the Bio-manufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) for the training of pharmaceutical scientists. The goal of the NCCU RISE program is to increase the number of students majoring in biology, chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, and psychology that attain doctoral degrees and proceed to postdoctoral research training. Recent studies have revealed three major reasons for the poor entry rates and large attrition rates of minority students in doctoral programs: 1) less than desired student academic performance, 2) a failure to feel a part of the scientific community, and 3) a failure to feel capable of doing the work of a scientist (scientific self-efficacy). Chemers, a social psychologist whose research focuses on the success of underrepresented minorities in science and mathematics, reported that scientific self-efficacy and identity as a scientist were mediators of a commitment to a research career and recommended that programs should focus on these psychological factors. To accomplish the goal of increasing the number of NCCU students completing the doctorate, a mentoring team consisting of a NCCU research mentor, a collaborating mentor from a Ph.D. granting institution, and a newly independent scientist (role mentor) will be assigned to each RISE Program student. This team of mentors will provide research experience, acclimate participants to research communities at NCCU and at a Ph.D. granting institution, and provide socio-emotional support. Program-wide activities will strengthen participant critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills. Each year, six (6) freshmen, six (6) juniors, and two (2) first year Master's degree students will be recruited into one of three Program levels: RISE Foundation, RISE Advanced, and RISE Graduate. RISE Foundation students, after being introduced to research and presenting their first project, will matriculate to RISE Advanced. RISE Advanced students will develop a thesis project and conduct a portion of their research at a Ph.D. granting institution. RISE Graduate students will strengthen their critical skills, conduct a portion of their thesis research at a Ph.D. granting institution and continue to doctoral programs. The mentor team will advise and support the student through completion of the doctorate and through postdoctoral studies. Students in the RISE program will be encouraged to support one another with those in Advanced and Graduate levels participating in the development of freshmen and sophomores.

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The goal of the North Carolina Central University Eagles RISE Program is to increase the number of students completing doctoral studies in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Interventions are planned for the freshman/sophomore, junior/senior, and graduate levels that involve increasing communication skills and research internships. Team mentoring in collaboration with research scientists at PhD granting institutions will assure a comfortable transition to graduate studies.

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