ASCEND Scholars

The ASCEND Scholars program is designed to prepare the 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.

Selection of ASCEND Scholars:

Students selected to participate in the ASCEND program are drawn from those who complete the Summer Research Institute (SRI). Upon completing the SRI, 20 students who exhibit strong interest in biomedical, social, and behavioral research as evidenced by key indicators of potential program success, will be selected to participate as ASCEND Scholars. Key indicators include:

  • Scores on an "attitude toward research" measure.
  • Assessment of weekly reflection papers.
  • Selection of team research project for ASCEND funding.
  • Evaluation by advanced peers and program directors.

Other criteria/requirements:

  • Students are generally rising sophomores and rising juniors from multiple disciplines.
  • Students must express and show interest in the biological or behavioral/social sciences.
  • 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 who are not accepted as ASCEND Scholars will have the opportunity to 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 10 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 for admission into a graduate health research program.