A National Longitudinal Evaluation of the RISE Program

Investigator: Mica B. Estrada, PhD
Sponsor: CSU San Marcos/University Auxiliary and Research Services

Location(s): United States


For more than 30 years, there has been a nationwide effort to encourage students from underrepresented ethnic minorities to pursue careers in the sciences. Despite widespread intervention programs, there remains a significant under-representation of minority scientists engaged in biomedical and behavioral research in the United States. To date there have been few studies using appropriate matched samples to examine the effectiveness of such programs. A multidisciplinary research team from CSUSM is proposing a longitudinal, theory-driven, empirical evaluation of the NIH-sponsored Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. RISE provides monetary support, training, research experience, mentoring, and graduate school preparation for minority college students in the biomedical sciences. A four-year quasi-experimental study is proposed to assess the overall impact of the RISE experience for both undergraduate and graduate students, and to link the benefits of the RISE program with specific elements of the program, and with changes in student motivation, identity, and self-efficacy to pursue a research career in the biomedical sciences. A sample of 450 students from 20 collaborating RISE campuses across the country will be matched with a sample of 450 non-RISE students, and each will be tracked for four years. Data will be collected twice per year from each participant via a customized web-based data collection and contact management and tracking program. In addition to answering questions about the overall impact of the program, the dataset will afford statistical tests to identify the types of students most likely to benefit from the RISE experience, as well as tests of the underlying mechanisms responsible for RISE outcomes (i.e., a test of the assumptions for what works in minority training programs). Findings from the study could potentially inform minority educational intervention programs at both the university and secondary school levels across the country.