SCMNS Student Research Programs

Contact: Dr. Farin Kamangar, Associate Dean and Professor of Biology, School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
Gillian Beth Silver, MPH, CPH, Program Manager
ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research

ASCEND is "A Student-Centered, Entrepreneurship Development (ASCEND) Training Model to Increase Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce."
The purpose of this 5-year (2014-2019) award from the National Institutes of Health is to strengthen Morgan State University's biomedical training and research infrastructure, with the ultimate goal of training undergraduate students to become outstanding biomedical researchers.

ASCEND will create a new cadre of biomedical researchers who are both familiar with the root causes of health and health disparity problems and highly competent to address them.

Core Directors (in SCMNS):

Dr. Gloria Hoffman (Biology) and Dr. Michael Koban (Biology), Institutional Development Core
Dr. Christine Hohmann (Biology), Research Enrichment Core
Dr. Cleo Hughes-Darden (Biology), Student Development Core

Contact Dr. Christine F. Hohmann
Department of Biology
The mission of the RISE program is to increase the number of minority/underrepresented individuals in biomedical research careers by preparing students for successful transition into biomedical-related graduate programs, ultimately leading to PhDs. Morgan State University's program is targeted towards undergraduate students.

NSF STARS-1 (2012-2017)
Contact: Dr. Ernest Steele, PI
Department of Biology
Morgan State University, a public urban institution with about 90% of its students of African-American ancestry, provides scholarships to meet the outstanding financial needs of academically talented students majoring in Biology. The scholarships allow scholars to devote time that would otherwise be spent working more than 20 hours per week to pay for their education to instead focus intensively on their academic and professional development. In addition to the financial assistance, students in the STARS-1 program receive active and structured support of both their academic success and professional goals. Students are also strongly encouraged to undertake mentored undergraduate research projects during the summer or academic year. Through these interventions, it is anticipated that the students will persist and excel to graduation and go on to diversify the STEM workforce and graduate education programs. This project builds on several other significant federally-funded activities and is expected to lead to similar initiatives targeting other unique populations of students majoring in a variety of STEM disciplines.

NSF HBCU-UP (2016-2019)
Contact: Dr. Ernest Steele, CO-PI
Department of Biology
Morgan State University will investigate the impact of a concept mapping strategy in introductory biology courses on the retention and academic success of underrepresented students. The researchers hypothesize students experiencing greater success in introductory biology by constructing concept maps and using them as an active learning tool will more likely be retained as a STEM major. The impact of concept mapping will be measured by investigating the correlations among course grades in two biology courses, mapping skill, ability to think big, motivation, and retention rates. The conceptual framework for the proposed project incorporates theories that support the efficacy of purposely creating an active learning environment that centers on the use of concept learning maps. The research has the potential to transform the biology learning environment from teacher-centered to student-centered with a focus on meaningful learning thereby increasing retention.