The Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of California Irvine (UCI) aims to increase the pool of admitted underrepresented minority graduate students by encouraging, orienting and better preparing recent baccalaureate recipients during the critical transition from undergraduate work to enrollment in a graduate research doctorate program. The program ultimately aims to produce highly trained investigators to lead research in health problems that disproportionately affect minorities and the medically underserved population. During the course of the program, PREP scholars work as apprentice scientists to acquire advanced research skills and the competitiveness necessary for the successful pursuit of a graduate degree. The program also educates scholars about health disparities among minorities and motivates scholars to pursue research careers in this area. Scholars receive paid research training and practical experience in a faculty mentor’s laboratory, undergraduate and graduate coursework, GRE test preparation, training in scientific writing and oral communication as well as opportunities to attend faculty seminars about health disparities and various topics in biomedical sciences. Experience at UC Irvine and other institutions has shown that involvement in research is one of the most effective tools to induce underrepresented minority students to pursue graduate school and research-based careers. PREP scholar development activities have been designed to meet individual needs and include: 1. Paid research training as full-time apprentice scientists in a preceptor’s faculty laboratory to gain research skills. This includes practical training in laboratory methods using latest technology. 2. Individualized coursework plan to enhance the preparedness of PREP scholars for graduate studies in biomedical sciences; courses include those deemed necessary to attain admission to a graduate program 3. Ongoing advising to develop a research career plan and gain graduate school admission 4. Instruction in scientific writing, critical thinking, experimental design and data analysis 5. GRE preparation through reading immersion 6. Full access to weekly scientific faculty seminars relating to biological research. 7. Full access to the latest computer technology. 8. Assistance in the formal preparation of oral and poster presentations to be presented at local and/or national conferences. The most important activity is the independent research conducted under the direction of faculty mentors and the individual course plan. These activities are continuous and required throughout PREP participation.
To be eligible for participation in PREP individuals must: 1. Be U.S. citizen or permanent resident 2. Be from an underrepresented minority group. This definition would include: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino, and any Asian other than Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Asian Indian or Thai. 3. Be a graduate with a baccalaureate degree in a biological relevant science from an accredited U.S. college or university 4. Intend to apply or have applied to a research doctorate program Applications are accepted year-round, with typical commencement during the month of June.
Allison M. Kanas
Center for Virus Research-PREP, 3221 McGaugh Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3906