ASCEND Scholars

The ASCEND Scholars program is designed to prepare students for the important transition from undergraduate- to graduate-level training in health research, requiring the Scholars to incorporate higher-order thinking in addition to learning the basic skills and concepts from their undergraduate courses. The ASCEND Scholars' curriculum is designed to increase their mathematical skills, expose them to the latest technologies in the sciences, and develop their critical thinking and communication skills. Extramural research experiences are designed to give our Scholars the skills and experience for successful transition into a research-intensive graduate school program in the biomedical, behavioral or social sciences.

ASCEND Scholars Online Application

Selection of ASCEND Scholars:

In the past, students selected to participate in the ASCEND program were drawn from those who completed the Summer Research Institute (SRI). Now, Scholars are selected based on their achievements in the Student Research Center, as well as their research interests and experience and academic criteria. Based on these qualifications, up to 20 students who exhibit strong interest in biomedical research will be selected to participate as ASCEND Scholars.

Criteria/requirements are as follows:

  • Students are generally rising sophomores and rising juniors with at least 30 credits; they can major in a variety of health-related disciplines.
  • Students must express and show interest in the biological or behavioral/social sciences.
  • Students are expected to be members of or join the ASCEND Student Research Center.
  • Students selected for program participation remain in the program for a minimum of two years.
  • Students are required to have and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale) prior to and during their tenure with the program.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Students must have the intention to attend graduate school in a biomedical, behavioral/social science discipline, and plan to pursue a career in health-relevant research. Note, "biomedical sciences" includes many disciplines you might not have considered such, e.g. informatics, engineering, material sciences, food sciences etc. Please explore the National Institute of Health Website:
  • This program is part of a national study on student experiences and career choices funded by the National Institutes of Health. There are two levels of evaluation: site-level, through Morgan State University, and national, through the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA serves as the Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) for the national effort and is collecting information about the experiences and career choices of a variety of students such as yourself. Biomedical and STEM student education nationally may benefit from your participation. By submitting an application, you are enrolling in this study and giving permission for your school to share information from your application, as well as selected information from your school's educational records, with the Morgan State evaluators and the CEC at UCLA. Examples of this information include your name, date of birth and the email address you provide on this application. You are also giving Morgan State permission to give your contact information to the CEC at UCLA so that you can be invited to participate in annual surveys. Morgan State evaluators and the CEC at UCLA may also ask you to be part of focus groups and interviews as part of the local and national evaluations. Your responses will be used for research purposes only and will be protected. Any information that is obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified with you will be protected and secured to the extent permitted by law.

Students who are not accepted as ASCEND Scholars will have the opportunity to be ASCEND Assocates and participate in ASCEND activities, or apply for the Minority Biomedical Research Support - Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE) program, Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, Leadership Alliance, and other undergraduate programs.

ASCEND Scholar benefits and activities include (but are not limited to):
  • Two-year paid traineeship (i.e., partial tuition, monthly stipends, and travel funds).
  • Development of Individual Development Plan.
  • Training in quantitative and quantitative methods.
  • Participation in workshops on ethical conduct of research, critical thinking, problem solving, graduate school preparation, writing, etc.
  • A minimum of 15 hours per week working on research, mentoring and skill-building activities.
  • Presentation of Scholar's own research at undergraduate and professional conferences.
  • Attending a minimum of two professional conferences to enhance networking skills.
  • Applying to external summer research internships.
  • Applying to a minimum of six schools in the fall of senior year for admission into a graduate health research program.