ThePathways Project was a scholastic training programthat ran from 2009 to 2019 and was designed to support students in the pursuit of careers in biomedical and biobehavioral research. Students from populations underrepresented in science and living within Northern Minnesota entered into a two-to four-year training programat theUniversity ofMinnesotaMedical School, Duluth campus. Students entered the Pathways Project as community college students in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program or as junior undergraduates in the Pathways to Advanced Degrees in the Life Sciences program, with 14 students participating in both programs. The project augmented students' normal academic experiences with the development of professional skills, frequent interactions with faculty, and mentored research projects. During the 10 years the project ran, the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program worked with 51 community college students and the Pathways to Advanced Degrees in Life Sciences program worked with 60 university students. The Bridges Program graduated 43 students with an associate's degree and the Pathways Program graduated 49 students with a baccalaureate degree. A total of 17 trainees enrolled in MS degrees and 18 trainees enrolled in PhD degrees. A mixed-methods approach was used to learn more about the trainees' and mentors' experiences in the program.We found that using an active learning approach to develop professional skills prior to the trainees' research experience generated the confidence these students needed to proceed into advanced degree programs and research careers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Program No. of Trainees No. Completed the Program No. Awarded Degree No. Transferring to Baccalaureate Program No. Enrolled in Postgraduate Program Bridges 51 39 43 (Associate) 27 6 Pathways 60 49 49 (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science) Not Applicable 29 Another goal of the program was to build the students’ science identities, allowing the trainees to be recognized as scientists by the greater scientific community ( 29 ). Trainees contributed to 14 peer-reviewed publications and 67 national presentations. Students presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, as well as conferences sponsored by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research, the American Physiological Society, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and the American Society for Cell Biology. Currently, 35 trainees have enrolled in postgraduate programs, (( Table 6 )). Ten are enrolled in master’s programs, and seven have received their master’s degrees. Twelve are enrolled in doctorate programs, and six have received doctorate degrees. These graduate programs include local programs at UMD and prestigious universities like University of Wisconsin, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Yale University. Table 6
Funding for this project was received from National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS 5R25GM086669-07 and NIGMS 2R25GM053403-12) to BLC. Mary Cannedy-Clarke and Shannon RedBrook provided excellent administrative and technical support for the programs. Phyllis Lindberg and Ronald Regal provided guidance for career development and skill development during the SRA. Janelle Wilson and Melissa Walls were key contributors to the Research on Mentors in Pathways team. The authors would like to acknowledge all of the UMD faculty who contributed to the program, but particularly Andrew Skildum, George Trachte, and Larry Wittmers for serving as problem-based learning facilitators. Finally, we wish to thank all of the Bridges and Pathways trainees for their commitment and devotion to the program and research.
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