2013 IDEAS Recipient

Laura Liscum, PhD, Tufts University School of Medicine
Pathway to PhD

The Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences seeks to diversify its student body. We hypothesize that establishing strong ties with undergraduate science majors at a Boston area college or university with a diverse student body will, in the short term, increase the number of diverse applicants to the Sackler School’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate training programs. In the long term, we predict that this will result in increased numbers of qualified applicants of diverse backgrounds to Sackler PhD programs.

We propose to test this hypothesis by bringing six talented University of Massachusetts Boston undergraduate science majors to the Tufts health sciences campus each January during their winter break. During a 3-week period, Sackler graduate students will lead the undergraduates in laboratory experiments, while faculty members offer career development workshops and introduce them to our undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate research training opportunities. This will provide the undergraduates with an enriching experience while giving Sackler graduate students teaching opportunities. Success of the program will be measured through pre- and post-experience surveys and tracking student outcomes.

January 2013 was the first offering of such a TUSM-UMB Enrichment Program. We propose to build on the success of this inaugural program with a more vibrant curriculum that will become an established Sackler program and be portable to other graduate schools that wish to partner with their local undergraduate institutions.