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An Initiative to Broaden Diversity in Undergraduate Biomathematics Training

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Type: Article
Author(s): Gregory Goins, Mingxiang Chen, Catherine White, Dominic Clemence, Thomas Redd, and Vinaya Kelkar
Published: CBE Life Sci Educ.. 9 (3), 241-247. , 2010
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At North Carolina A&T State University (NCATSU), there was a critical need to better coordinate genuine research and classroom experiences for undergraduates early in their academic career. We describe the development and implementation of a faculty alliance across academic departments to increase biomathematics research opportunities for underrepresented minorities. Our faculty alliance is called the Integrative Biomathematical Learning and Empowerment Network for Diversity (iBLEND). The fundamental purpose of the iBLEND alliance was to inspire underrepresented minorities to pursue research careers by increasing the visibility of research conducted at the interface of mathematics and biology at NCATSU. Because of the many positive impacts, iBLEND gained significant buy-in from administration, faculty, and students by 1) working from the ground up with administration to promote campus-wide biomathematics research and training, 2) fostering associations between research and regular undergraduate academic courses, 3) creating and disseminating biomathematics teaching and learning modules, and 4) enhancing learning community support at the interface of mathematics and biology. Currently, iBLEND is viewed as a productive site for graduate schools to recruit underrepresented minority students having specific competencies related to mathematical biology.