MSU ASCEND explores mentoring strategies with new class

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By Gillian Silver

In fall 2020, Morgan State University (MSU) ASCEND introduced “Innovative Approaches to Health Science Research,” a new course supporting student-driven research proposals. Partnering with graduate students and faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), the SCIE 200 class develops new mentoring relationships with undergraduate researchers in the MSU ASCEND program. 

The SCIE 200 class was developed to replace ASCEND’s previous resource-intensive Summer Research Institute (SRI), creating a sustainable foundational experience for its entrepreneurial research training approach. As in SRI, sophomore and sometimes junior undergraduates from across a range of STEM disciplines explore the many ways in which health-relevant research can be conducted. They learn the fundamentals of how to ask an appropriate research question and develop such questions into a mini-proposal. 

The program’s UMSOM partners work individually with students to help them develop their proposals, and in the process develop a strong mentorship bond. The results are promising—half of the students taking the SCIE 200 course are planning to continue their research in the laboratories of their UMSOM mentors. This spring, the program’s mentor colleagues from UMSOM have been invited to participate in ASCEND’s Interdisciplinary Seminar Series to present their work to all research-active students and MSU faculty.

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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