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Genetics. 2011 Dec;189(4):1135-43. doi: 10.1534/genetics.111.132126. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

Opening pathways for underrepresented high school students to biomedical research careers: the Emory University RISE program.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Increasing the college graduation rates of underrepresented minority students in science disciplines is essential to attain a diverse workforce for the 21st century. The Research Internship and Science Education (RISE) program attempts to motivate and prepare students from the Atlanta Public School system, where underrepresented minority (URM) students comprise a majority of the population, for biomedical science careers by offering the opportunity to participate in an original research project. Students work in a research laboratory from the summer of their sophomore year until graduation, mentored by undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (postdocs). In addition, they receive instruction in college-level biology, scholastic assessment test (SAT) preparation classes, and help with the college application process. During the last 4 yr, RISE students have succeeded in the identification and characterization of a series of proteins involved in the regulation of nuclear organization and transcription. All but 1 of 39 RISE students have continued on to 4-year college undergraduate studies and 61% of those students are currently enrolled in science-related majors. These results suggest that the use of research-based experiences at the high school level may contribute to the increased recruitment of underrepresented students into science-related careers.

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