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Tuskegee University faculty are partnering with colleagues at Alabama State University and three other institutions in the region to better diversify the nation’s biomedical workforce.
The five-year grant, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Research Mentoring Network, is entitled “Intersection of Social Capital, Mentorship, and Networking on Persistence, Engagement and Science Identity.” The $2.97 million project, which Alabama State is leading and of which Tuskegee will share a portion of the work, will create a mentorship program aimed at freshman HBCU students interested in biomedical careers.
“This project will prove vital in recruiting, supporting and retaining the next generation of young men and women who will lead within the biomedical industry,” said Dr. Channa Prakash, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who will lead Tuskegee’s portion of the project along with Dr. Honghe Wang, an assistant professor in Tuskegee’s Department of Biology who also works with the university’s Center for Biomedical Research. “Tuskegee’s strengths lie within the STEM disciplines, making our involvement in this project ideal for bringing greater ethnic and gender diversity to these fields.”
The grant’s efforts will benefit at least 150 HBCU students annually at Alabama State and Tuskegee, as well as fellow HBCU and project partner Savannah State University. Through the partnership, students studying in biomedical disciplines at these schools will receive specialized mentoring, networking and career development support as they remain focused on post-graduate education and professional opportunities.
“This effort will ensure that, through enhanced mentoring and networking with successful biomedical professionals, our students will remain poised toward pursuing future graduate school and industry research opportunities,” Prakash added.
Partners at Vanderbilt University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center will provide their mentoring expertise, virtual mentoring, assistance with mentoring workshops, and student access to the National Research Mentoring Network that the two universities co-maintain as part of a separate NIH grant.
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