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Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

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Chemistry -- Education -- Pedagogy


Research experience provides critical training for new biomedical research scientists. Students from underrepresented populations studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are increasingly recruited into research pathways to diversify STEM fields. However, support structures outside of research settings designed to help these students navigate biomedical research pathways are not always available; nor are program support components outside the context of laboratory technical skills training and formal mentorship well understood. This study leveraged a multi-institutional research training program, Enhancing Cross-Disciplinary Infrastructure and Training at Oregon (EXITO), to explore how nine institutions designed a new curricular structure (Enrichment) to meet a common goal of enhancing undergraduate research training and student success. EXITO undergraduates participated in a comprehensive, 3-year research training program with the Enrichment component offered across nine sites: three universities and six community colleges, highly diverse in size, demographics, and location. Sites’ approaches to supporting students in the training program were studied over a 30-month period. All sites independently created their own nonformal curricular structures, implemented interprofessionally via facilitated peer groups. Site data describing design and implementation were thematically coded to identify essential programmatic components across sites, with student feedback used to triangulate findings. Enrichment offered students time to critically reflect on their interests, experiences, and identities in research; network with peers and professionals; and support negotiation of hidden and implicit curricula. Students reported the low-pressure setting and student-centered curriculum balanced the high demands associated with academics and research. Core curricular themes described Enrichment as fostering a sense of community among students, exposing students to career paths and skills, and supporting development of students’ professional identities. The non-formal, interprofessional curricula enabled students to model diverse biomedical identities and pathways for each other while informing institutional structures to improve diverse undergraduate students’ success in academia and research.


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Chemistry Commons