April 16, 2021
April 16, 2021
April 17, 2021
Diversity and Diversity, Inclusion, and Access
Underrepresented minorities (URM’s) and women comprise 30% and 50% of the U.S. population, respectively. In the Biomedical Engineering (BME) discipline they compose 8% and 37%, respectively1. Thus, the enrollment of these groups is still below their representation in society. The BUCKEYE Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) SITE program aims to help address this disparity by 1.) increasing the number of traditionally underrepresented students pursing a graduate degree and preparing them for success in the application process and graduate school, 2.) providing hands-on scientific research experience in Biomechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB), 3.) and developing the participants’ ability to comprehend, contribute, and communicate advances in BMMB. To do this our students participated in a 10-week research immersion where they participated in research, professional development and social activities. Our cohort consisted of ten participants all of whom were from a traditionally underrepresented background. To assess the outcomes from the program we administered survey’s using our site-licensed online survey tool Qualtrics. We used a combination of survey’s including pre-and post-surveys to assess program outcomes. Surveys were administered to faculty mentors and participants. The data were analyzed with GraphPad Prism 8.2.1 software using a paired t-test or average. The data indicate that by the end of the program students were conducting independent research P<0.01. Overwhelmingly students believed the program prepared them for success in the application process and graduate school, P<0.04 and P<0.02, respectively. Further, by the end of the program students believed they were better able to communicate about the field of BMMB, P<0.04. Seventy-one percent of faculty mentors who responded to the survey indicated their student produced data that could be included in a future publication. Out of the ten participants three are now enrolled in a graduate program, three are currently applying to one of our graduate programs involved in our REU, and another three are not yet ready to graduate. Of the three students who were entering their senior year at the conclusion of our program, all of them are now enrolled in a graduate program contributing to an increase in representation of underrepresented students. We will continue to track whether the remaining students ultimately apply to or enroll in our or another graduate program and the impact of the REU SITE on our graduate program diversity. Moving forward we will modify our approaches to help participants connect the outcomes of their research to their ability to contribute to the field of BMMB, so they are able to identify with the contributions the faculty mentors have noticed.
Stiner-Jones, L. (2021, April), Work in Progress: Preparing the Next Generation of Biomedical Engineering Researchers by Leveraging a Research Experience for Undergraduates Paper presented at 2021 Illinois-Indiana Regional Conference, Virtual. 10.18260/1-2--38285
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