PREP Scholars Gain Critical Experience toward Pursuit of Higher Education

Einstein 2014 PREP Scholars (from left): John Alvarado-Torres, Tangeria Adams, Umaru Barrie, James Mungin, Ashaki Nehisi and Schnaude Dorizan
Einstein 2014 PREP Scholars (from left): John Alvarado-Torres, Tangeria Adams, Umaru Barrie, James Mungin, Ashaki Nehisi and Schnaude Dorizan

Earlier this summer, Einstein welcomed its incoming class of six PREP scholars. PREP stands for Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program; now in its second year, the program was established to encourage and assist recent college graduates from historically underrepresented groups in pursuing Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences.

At its core, the one-year program includes an intensive research experience, some graduate courses and mentorship by faculty and peers from Einstein’s Graduate Division and Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). The aim of these activities is to provide enhanced research training and to build the skills which will ensure academic success while guiding the students to become competitive applicants for Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs.

Upon arriving at Einstein, scholars took part in an orientation week where they were welcomed by PREP co-directors Drs. Victoria Freedman, associate dean for graduate programs; Myles Akabas, director of the MSTP; and Genevieve Neal-Perry, associate dean for diversity mentoring. Throughout the week, the scholars toured a variety of Einstein’s scientific facilities, attended routine laboratory safety seminars, and met current Ph.D. and MSTP students. In addition, they explored various laboratories and met with faculty in order to identify the scientific area they’d most like to focus on for their year of intensive research.

Throughout the broader PREP program, the scholars are in close contact with the co-directors, who provide individualized mentorship and guidance. They convene regularly for weekly meetings, which include journal clubs, works-in-progress seminars, luncheons and dinners, many of which also are attended by Einstein Ph.D. and MSTP students. The Einstein Minority Student Association has been particularly involved with the mentoring and guidance of the new PREP students, helping with the choice of laboratories and discussing future career paths and training.

“The program is designed to be very close-knit—the PREP students and leadership get to know each other very well, facilitating optimal mentorship and support,” noted Dr. Neal-Perry. “It also exemplifies the scientific excellence and diversity that we strive to foster at Einstein.”

“Recognizing the broader racial and socioeconomic disparities in education, Einstein is committed to providing opportunities that help students interested in biomedical science to pursue their dreams,” added Dr. Freedman.

PREP is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institute of Health. Einstein’s program is 1 of only 28 of its kind in the nation.


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