June 5, 2013
Minority Access to Research Careers Entering 29th Year at St. Mary’s.
St. Mary’s University has been awarded $1,029,750 for a five-year renewal of its Minority Access to Research Careers grant, which is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
The grant provides underrepresented students majoring in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering Science opportunities to complete research training and work alongside faculty mentors. Undergraduate students participating in the MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U*STAR) program are provided with academic and research support to prepare them for Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences.
Approximately 100 St. Mary’s students have benefited from MARC U*STAR since its inception at the University in 1983. Of those, 60 percent have entered graduate school and 10 percent have entered medical school. The remaining 30 percent have embarked on careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics disciplines.
“The success of the MARC program at St. Mary’s is really due to the foundation of the program developed by Dr. Jose Miguel Cimadevilla in 1983,” said Timothy Raabe, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Biology and current Director of the MARC program at St. Mary’s. “‘Dr. C,’ as his students affectionately knew him, was dedicated to the mission of the program, which is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the biomedical and behavioral science fields. Ultimately, the goal is to have these students obtain their Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. and seek positions in academia or industry.
“It is a testament to Dr. C given the number of St. Mary’s students that participated in the MARC program and have achieved this goal.”
The program offers students numerous benefits, including academic year and summer research experiences at designated laboratories, the opportunity to present at the annual campus-wide symposium, attendance at scientific conferences (travel-related costs are paid), professional development such as seminars and workshops, as well as stipends and tuition assistance.
“When I became the Program Director after Miguel’s passing, my only objective was not to mess up a good thing,” Raabe said. “In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to incorporate a few other activities into the program, but the overall structure essentially remains the same as Miguel first envisioned it. St. Mary’s is truly indebted to him for his vision, leadership and commitment to the MARC program and to our students.”
St. Mary’s University is one of three MARC U*STAR participating institutions in Texas.