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Program Objectives

Why a Diverse Biomedical Workforce is Important

Diverse perspectives in biomedical and behavioral research lead to greater innovation and greater recognition of issues that continue to threaten the health, well-being, and inclusion of underrepresented communities. Therefore increasing the diversity of biomedical and behavioral research scientists increases our potential to address the most urgent public health challenges, and is critical to the full realization of our national research goals.

The Goals of the MARC GatorSTAR Program

MARC GatorSTAR program is designed to enhance the academic preparation and research skills training of underrepresented minority students at UF, place them in mentored research environments with dynamic, experienced faculty preceptors, support the students through to their graduation with a BS degree in a biomedical or behavioral science-related discipline, and promote their continuation to a successful career as a research scientist. The MARC GatorSTAR program is not intended to support students who plan to pursue only a professional degree (such as MD, DO, DDS, DMD, or DVM), although students who plan to earn a PhD degree in combination with a professional degree will be considered.

Participation in Undergraduate Research is Essential

Participation in research as an undergraduate increases the chances of pursuing graduate study in science fields, and increases retention and academic achievement among underrepresented students. The University of Florida is a major biomedical research institution, with tremendous opportunities for participation of undergraduates in world-class biomedical and behavioral research. The MARC GatorSTAR program plays an important role at UF in increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who graduate and enter doctoral programs in biomedical and behavioral science disciplines

The Pre-MARC Program

To promote the early entry of students into research, the Pre-MARC program includes a focus on curricular reforms and activities that increase the students’ preparedness for the foundational science and mathematics courses, and increase their awareness of scientific research as a profession, and provide skills training to help prepare students to participate meaningfully in biomedical and behavioral research. The Pre-MARC program is open to all UF students.

The MARC Program

Students who are accepted into the MARC program become GatorSTAR Trainees for their junior and/or senior years, during which they receive 60% of their tuition, a stipend of $1,028 per month and travel support. Trainees participate in focused programs to enhance their academic preparation and research skills, and participate in intensive research experiences with UF faculty mentors and faculty mentors at our partner institutions throughout the southeast.

Summary of Learning Outcomes and Skills for MARC GatorSTAR Participants and Trainees

*MARC 1 = junior academic year; MARC 2 = senior academic year

Knowledge, Skills and Experiences Activity Typical Timing
Early research experience CURE course (meets GE req’t) Pre-MARC
Research techniques preparation X-Lab (std course, boot-camp or research skills course) Pre-MARC
Responsible conduct of research X-Lab, MARC Achievement Program Pre-MARC, MARC 1-2
Introduction to scientists Science for Life Seminar Pre-MARC
Research as a profession Entering Research course MARC 1
Social and academic interaction with researchers Participation in UF T32 training program activities MARC 1-2
Mentored research experience Mentoring by UF MARC faculty MARC 1-2
Introduction to scientific conferences Attend ABRCMS MARC 1
Extramural research experience Summer extramural research experience MARC 2
Professional development GatorSTAR Achievement Program MARC 1-2
Scientific conference Attend professional conference MARC 2
Graduation with high or highest honors Submit honors thesis MARC 2