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NIH grant supports research education program

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

LAWRENCE — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently awarded a grant for more than $1.7 million for the Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) to Estela Gavosto, associate professor of mathematics, and James Orr, professor of molecular biosciences, both with the University of Kansas. The PREP program provides mentored research experiences and training to assist recent baccalaureate students with the transition to graduate school in biomedical and behavioral sciences. The PREP scholars are supported as research assistants at KU laboratories, complete relevant coursework and professional activities to strengthen academic competitiveness in pursuing graduate degrees. Participants receive support in the form of a research assistantship, tuition and fees.

Recent participants of the KU PREP program have been accepted into top national graduate programs like Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.  Former PREP scholars have been honored with awards such as a KU Self Graduate Fellowship, NSF-IGERT fellowship, President’s Fellowship from Princeton University and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

This year four of the current PREP students have been admitted to doctoral programs at KU: Brent Cook, Department of Physics & Astronomy; Aleah Henderson, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; and Dianarys Hernandez Aquino and Scott LaBrie, Department of Molecular Biosciences.

According to Michael Roberts, dean of graduate studies and professor of clinical child psychology, the KU PREP program provides a great opportunity to recruit students from a diverse background while providing them with resources to develop the skills necessary to succeed in KU graduate programs.

The PREP program is of the programs within the Office for Diversity in Science Training that contributes to ongoing student, staff and faculty efforts to reduce the gap in the completion of doctorates between underrepresented students and those from other backgrounds as well as to increase the institutional involvement in outreach efforts toward students from underrepresented communities. These programs recognize the national need for a well-trained workforce in biomedical and behavioral sciences and the continuing importance of developing and maintaining a strong and vital scientific workforce whose composition reflects the nation.

For more information please visit website at http://prep.ku.edu/.