Project ACE — ACtion for Equity: A BUILDing SCHOLARS Pipeline

  • Abstract

    Project ACE (ACtion for Equity: A BUILDing SCHOLARS Pipeline) proposes to create a pipeline of academically and socially prepared Hispanic students from three economically disadvantaged high in Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico who will pursue undergraduate majors and eventually careers in biomedical science research. Drawing on The University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) BUILDing SCHOLARS (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity: Southwest Consortium of Health-Oriented education Leaders and Research Scholars) grant and couched in Johnson and Bozeman’s (2012) asset bundles framework, Project ACE is unique because it exposes students to interdisciplinary biomedical research at the high school level; incorporates their teachers in research experiences; and engages students’ families in their academic and research skills growth. The proposal seeks to accomplish its goal of increasing diversity in the biomedical sciences through creating a pipeline of prepared Hispanic high school students by: (1) enhancing their high school teachers’ research skills and knowledge of careers in biomedical research through participation in mentored summer research experiences; (2) fostering a culture of high academic achievement amongst high school students through rigorous classroom instruction using research-infused curriculum that will be complemented by tutoring, SAT/ACT preparation and résumé writing; and (3) developing a research culture for high school students, where high school students will be engaged in research activities. High school students will be socialized into science through yearly symposia, and interaction with near-peer mentors, graduate student tutors and UTEP faculty members who will serve as research mentors. This entails a multi-tiered mentoring approach which involves research to be performed at both the student’s high school as well as at UTEP. By engaging in research at the high school level, we expect to see increased science identity and research self-efficacy in the participating students; improved research skills and increased interest in biomedical careers. By fostering a culture of high academic achievement, we expect that participating students will become more competitive applicants for merit-based scholarship opportunities at the postsecondary level and be more prepared for the biomedical research workforce. By involving high school teachers in contemporary biomedical research and infusing research and active learning principles into high school curriculum, we expect their students to be more engaged in learning, more excited by biomedical research, and more likely to pursue biomedical majors as undergraduates. This proposal is significant because it will leverage BUILDing SCHOLARS and NIH-funded pro further contribute to the diversification of the biomedical research workforce.

Associated SEPA Project(s)