UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII SYSTEMS
The broad long-term goal of this proposal is to increase the representation of individuals, who are underrepresented ethnic minority or of socio-economically disadvantaged background, in biomedical and social sciences research. To this end, the University of Hawaii proposes to develop and administer a STEP- UP program for high school students with the objective to ignite, stimulate and foster biomedical research interests in highly qualified students in order to effectively create a steady pipeline of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students who are likely to commit to a career in research in the NIDDK mission areas. The proposed program "High School Students STEP-UP to Biomedical Research" will target minority and disadvantaged students in the two US States outside of the continental US, i.e. Hawaii and Alaska; and the territory of Puerto Rico. The consolidation of these regions will essentially provide, in significant proportion, one of the most diverse underrepresented ethnic minority populations in the US, and will set the stage for involvement of students from other US affiliated countries and territories in the Pacific. Accordingly, the proposed STEP-UP program focuses on four aims to achieve the stated objectives. These are: Specific Aim 1. To recruit and select 25 highly qualified high school students (Grades 10-12) of ethnic minority or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds from the States of Hawaii and Alaska, and the US territory of Puerto Rico to participate in the NIDDK's STEP-UP Program. Specific Aim 2. To provide a 10-week research internship experience for 25 high school student participants that will include hands-on laboratory training and learning of related research principles, as well as a well designed and structured research educational program. Specific Aim 3. To recruit faculty mentors for the STEP-UP program in order to provide research experiences in areas responsive to NIDDK's research mission; and to devise a sound mentoring plan that will include long term education and career planning assistance. Specific Aim 4. To evaluate the proposed STEP-UP program in terms of process and outcome measures in order to determine its effectiveness at providing a steady pipeline of students that will pursue a career in research related to NIDDK's mission.