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Increasing the number of Hispanic doctoral students trained in the neurosciences:
A collaboration between Michigan State University and UPR-Cayey

Michigan State University (MSU) received an award of $1.5 million to establish collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey that will facilitate entry of Hispanic students into the doctoral program in neuroscience and enhance the likelihood of their success. This grant — from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institutes of Health — will serve as an extension of an MSU partnership with the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey.

The students from the University of Puerto Rico-Cayey will travel to MSU as undergraduates and spend two summers preparing for graduate school while undertaking research projects as part of the Ronald McNair Summer Research Program. The program pairs students with faculty mentors who guide them through the research process. Students also are taught scientific writing and mentored in writing English.

Two biology students from UPR-Cayey will be the first recipients starting this fall. This bridging experience for Cayey students was tested in 2008 with three participants. One of these has been accepted into the MSU neuroscience Ph.D. program starting in Sept. 2009. Dr. Robert Ross is the liaison for this collaboration at UPR-Cayey.

Maryvi Gonzales, a student visiting MSU from the University of Puerto Rico, works on a project in the lab of William Atchison of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Photo by G.L. Kohuth
Angela Rivera and Alexandra Colon, students visiting MSU from the University of Puerto Rico, work on a project that analyzes what parts of the brain may be most susceptible to mercury poisoning. Photo by G.L. Kohuth (MSU)

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