October 8-10, 2015 - BGS 30th Anniversary Celebration/Alumni Weekend
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Summer 2015 - The Dish - BGS Quarterly Newsletter
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September 2, 2015 - Plugging up the Pipeline
Cultivating a career in biomedical research is basically a series of experiential steps: Most times, but not always, it starts with a knack and interest in STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- in high school, a relevant major in college, eventually earning a PhD, and securing a postdoctoral position. Along the way, getting experience in the lab is a must to eventually run one of your own. At many academic medical centers, there are programs that focus on helping students each step of the way. At Penn, high school students have the six-week internship at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine or Med School Boot Camp, among others.
For underrepresented minorities, many of whom may lack resources in their high schools, from mentors to enrichment programs, the nurturing of a biomedical career, even knowledge of it as a career, is even tougher. The national numbers bear this out. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that about 14 percent of PhD students are from under-represented minorities. The National Science Foundation puts science and engineering postdocs at about seven to eight percent. And, faculty numbers are still lower, with firm figures hard to come by. A 2011 National Research Council report stated that two percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty at medical schools in the basic sciences are underrepresented minorities.
For the past two decades, the Penn Biomedical Graduate Studies program has been doing their part to reverse this trend. For undergrads, the Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP) is a 10-week internship to give underrepresented minorities experience in biomedical research. In fact, in 2014, 18 percent of incoming underrepresented minority graduate students in the Perelman School of Medicine were previous SUIP participants and in 2015, the numbers increased to 33 percent.
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