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UVI Awarded $1.5 Million NIH Grant for MARC Program

The University of the Virgin Islands has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program. The funding is for five years, with $403,000 for the first year.

The Minority Access to Research Careers program is designed to produce a diverse group of rigorously trained, motivated students who will compete for highly selective doctoral programs.

Program Director Dr. Teresa Turner said UVI's MARC Program was awarded funding in part because of its history of success. UVI has had a MARC Program since 1992. To date 66 percent of UVI MARC graduates have enrolled in Ph.D. programs.

"It's the best of both worlds," Dr. Turner said. MARC students enjoy the prestige of having attended leading research institutions while paying UVI's significantly lower tuition.

Students who are part of the MARC program are able to spend summers conducting research at partner institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Boston University, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Iowa, the University of Pennsylvania, Brandeis University, and the University of Pittsburgh, among others.

Over the last
10 years, 13 UVI
MARC alumni have
earned Ph.D. degrees at prestigious universities

MARC funds provide tuition, travel, and stipends for research training for individual MARC students. In addition, funding helps develop a rigorous curriculum for all UVI students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences including training in research methods, scientific writing, research ethics, and development of a new Bachelor of Science degree program in psychology.

"The partnerships that our MARC students develop at the other schools are amazing," Dr.Turner said. "Researchers at partner schools have made commitments to help these students go to graduate school."

When UVI MARC data are compared with national data they are especially impressive. The Ph.D. Completion project of the Council of Graduate Schools reported that only 43 percent of African American doctoral students in science, engineering and mathematics complete Ph.D.s within 10 years and only 56 percent of white students complete Ph.D.s within 10 years. In contrast, 90 percent of UVI MARC alumni completed Ph.D.s within the 10 years.

Over the last 10 years, 13 UVI MARC alumni have earned Ph.D. degrees at prestigious universities including New York University, University of Michigan, Purdue University, Emory University, Carnegie Mellon, University of Wisconsin, University of California San Diego, University of California Davis, Howard University, Louisiana State University, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and others.

UVI's competitive MARC proposal was written by a team of UVI faculty under Dr. Turner's leadership.

For information about the MARC program at the University of the Virgin Islands, please contact Dr. Turner at 693-1382 or by e-mail at tturner@uvi.edu.