TALLAHASSEE —Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Tallahassee Community College (TCC) have partnered for a $2,193,365 grant from the National Institutes of Health Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program in Biomedical Sciences.
The goal of the FAMU-TCC Bridges Program is to cultivate a program that increases the numbers of underrepresented minorities — African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans —attending TCC with the knowledge and skills necessary to attain an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree, with the additional goal of these graduates obtaining an entry-level degree in the biomedical sciences at FAMU.
“I was very excited when I was informed that we earned the grant,” said Carl Goodman, FAMU professor of pharmacology and co-principal investigator.
“There was a lot of hard work that went into writing the grant. It is going to do wonders in terms of giving more opportunities for the underrepresented population to garner careers in the biomedical sciences. When you look at the numbers of African Americans entering these fields, it is just low.
“This program is unique and will give students an opportunity to be exposed to the biomedical field.” FAMU is one of the few Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to not only serve as a traditional feeder program, but has become a relatively newcomer as a leader in graduating underrepresented minorities with baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical sciences (agriculture sciences and viticulture, biology and chemistry, environmental, chemical and biomedical engineering, environmental chemistry and health, and pharmaceutical sciences).
“I salute Dr. Carl Goodman and Dr. Sandra Suther, as well as their outstanding TCC collaborators for generating this highly competitive training grant,” said FAMU Vice President for Research K. Ken Redda. “This five-year project will provide Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program in the Biomedical Sciences and will increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students from TCC to obtain baccalaureate degrees at our institution. Dr. Goodman is not only a brilliant scientist and an astute administrator but he also symbolizes excellence with caring. I have no doubt that this is going to be among the shining examples of a successful BRIDGE Program in the nation.”
TCC is fast approaching the status as a minority-majority institution of higher learning. It has an enrollment of 13,908 students and is culturally diversified with 47 percent minorities. TCC has the highest percentage of African-American students among the 28 members of the Florida College System. Among two-year schools, TCC is the number one producer of A.A. degrees in the nation. It is also the number one transfer school to FAMU and Florida State University.
TCC’s Dean for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Calandra Stringer will be leading TCC’s participation in the new program. “This is a great opportunity for TCC to partner with FAMU in order to increase the pipeline of students who transfer to FAMU,” said Stringer. “We are extremely excited about the biomedical sciences program and we are looking forward to introducing the scientific experiences to our students.”
Some initiatives for the program include:
Establishing an innovative recruitment strategy to attract 150 science majors at TCC to the various biomedical science disciplines and research experiences at FAMU. Through the proposed program, there will be seminars, workshops and lectures that will take place on TCC’s campus throughout the year presented by FAMU biomedical science and research faculty; Establishing a FAMU-TCC Biomedical Sciences Forum where 40 TCC students from the pool of 150 underrepresented minorities (URM) will be invited for a one-day orientation during the spring semester to tour FAMU and its biomedical programs, as well as to gain information on the 10-week summer research internship program; Providing a 10-week summer research internship at FAMU for 10 Bridges students during the first year and a total of 30 for years two to five. Students will be matched with research mentors and conduct a meaningful research project that will be complimented with several research enrichment activities to include lectures and practical experiences on research and bioethics, laboratory safety training, computer and data analysis, power point
poster preparation and presentation skills. Students will also transition into baccalaureate programs (from academic advisement to identifying financial resources to pay for school) and biomedical science seminars; and providing an academic research internship program during the academic year for seven Bridges students.
• Picture above Carl Goodman