Responsibilities of Program Participants

Tenure in the Cal State L.A. MBRS Program

Research Participation

Academic Progress

Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series

Special Workshops and Seminars

Academic and Career Advisement

Tutoring

Writing Support Program

Priority Registration

Graduate Record Examination

Registration Fees

Travel to Professional Meetings

Payment of Research Salary

Graduate Students Employed as Graduate Assistants/Instructors

Parking Permits

MBRS-RISE Program Evaluation

Scientific Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research

Useful Forms

 

 

 


MBRS-RISE Programs

MARC-U*STAR Programs

Bridges to the Future Programs

 

Information for Current MBRS-RISE M.S-to-Ph.D. Students

Responsibilities of Program Participants
  • As an MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. student, it is your responsibility to succeed academically and to make a strong effort in the research laboratory in preparation for advanced work towards the Ph.D. and establishment of a career in research.
  • The responsibility of the MBRS-RISE research directors is to provide scientific leadership to make your laboratory research experience meaningful and productive. They are also committed to serving as your academic and career advisors.
  • The responsibility of the MBRS-RISE Program Administration is to provide resources and leadership that will help you maximize your efforts to achieve success in biomedical and behavioral research and completion of your immediate degree goal. You, your research director, and the MBRS program administration are expected to work together so that you attain a level of achievement in the research laboratory and in academics which makes you eligible and competitive for admission to strong Ph.D. programs following completion of the M.S. or M.A. at Cal State LA.

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Tenure in the Cal State L.A. MBRS-RISE MS-to-PhD Program

An student's maximum tenure in the program to completion of the degree will generally be two years (24 months) to complete their masters program. Under exceptional circumstances, a student's tenure in the program may be extended by petition to the program Advisory Committee.

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Research Participation

The MBRS-RISE program is funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The primary mission of NIGMS is the creation of new, original knowledge within the biomedical natural and behavioral sciences, and to support training of new generations of biomedical and behavioral scientists. There are 25 research laboratories involved in the Cal State LA MBRS-RISE program. The MBRS-RISE program provides support for your salary as a research assistant, research supplies and equipment, and funds for your travel to present research results. It is expected that the work you do in the research laboratory in collaboration with your faculty principal investigator and other research student colleagues will lead to publications in professional research journals. The research progress of these subprojects is reviewed annually by the NIH. Renewal depends on research productivity of the laboratory as measured in peer reviewed professional journal publications and the career outcomes of the participating student research assistants.

The research participation of MBRS-RISE students has been at a high level and their work has led to publication of nearly 500 research journal articles. A list of these publications is given at the link MBRS-RISE Student and Faculty Publications.

There are opportunities for you to be involved in research at one (or more) of the collaborating Ph.D. institutions during the period of your masters degree work. Take advantage of this to interact with graduate students and faculty at the Ph.D. institutions.

Officially, your position in the MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. program is as a research assistant. Currently the salary level is set at $12,800. It will be increased on July 1, 2000 to $15,000 per year. You are expected to make a good effort in the progress of your research project and, develop your research skills in preparation to Ph.D. work.

Your progress in research is monitored by quarterly reports, which your research director provides to the MBRS-RISE program office.

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Academic Progress

There are three very important intertwined objectives of the MBRS-RISE program: 1) your progress in the research laboratory; 2) your academic progress; and 3) the progress of the research project in which you participate. The expectation is that by participating in a research group performing contemporary biomedical research, your academic achievements will be enhanced. A major goal of the MBRS program is to increase the pool of talented minority individuals who will eventually take leadership positions in biomedical research and related disciplines. To this end, your academic success as a participant in the program is essential; strong performance in your masters program is necessary for admission to strong Ph.D. programs.

The National Institutes of Health, the research grant agency which funds MBRS-RISE, requires that students be enrolled full-time (as determined by your academic department) at Cal State LA in order to participate in the Program and that satisfactory progress be made by participants. It is important that your academic achievement allow you to pursue education beyond the M.S. Your course work grades should be A's and B's, and you are reminded that you must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher to be in good standing with your department and the university. If at any point your GPA drops below 3.0, you will have two academic quarters to improve it or be terminated from the program.

Be sure that you take exams required by the University, such as the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE), in a timely fashion. The MBRS-RISE program is bound by University regulations, and if you are not allowed to register any given quarter because you have not completed the WPE requirement by the University-set deadline, your continuation in the Program is also in jeopardy.

Your academic progress is monitored by quarterly reports, which are made available by the Registrar online to the MBRS-RISE Program Office.

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Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series

The program hosts, in cooperation with the Cal State LA Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, a seminar series which is held most Friday afternoons (1:10 PM) during the academic year and occasionally during the summer.

The goal of the seminar series is to expose the MBRS-RISE students, and the Cal State LA scientific community as a whole, to a wide range of biomedical scientists representing various disciplines, with the intent of broadening the student research coworkers' scientific perspective. The presenters, which have included former Cal State LA MBRS students, are leaders in their scientific disciplines, and are frequently minority scientists. Also integrated into the series are presentations by more advanced undergraduates and graduate students. A schedule of the seminars for the current term are available online at Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series (this seminar schedule site also includes biographical information about the seminar speaker, an abstract of the presentation, and recent references you may want to read as background for the seminar). These seminars are an integral part of the MBRS-RISE program and attendance is mandatory.

Refreshments are available at 12:55; seminars begin promptly at 1:10. Please be on time.

The seminar coordinator for the 1999-2000 academic year is Professor Donald Paulson (Physical Sciences 702; 343-2332; dpaulso@calstatela.edu). If you have suggestions for seminar topics or speakers, please let him know.

In addition we encourage your attendance, as your schedule and other commitments allow, at the seminar series hosted by your major department (Chemistry & Biochemistry Departmental Seminars on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM in Physical Sciences 306; Biology & Microbiology Departmental Seminars on Tuesdays at noon in Bio Sci 144). All seminars present an opportunity for you to interact with a practicing scientist or a more advanced student. Take advantage of these opportunities.

It is important that you begin to forge links with biomedical and behavioral scientists. If you are interested in going to lunch or dinner with a particular seminar speaker (either in the Biomedical Sciences Seminars or in your major departmental seminar series), please let your research director know ahead of time so they can arrange through Lisa Bautista, program administrative assistant, for funds to be made available for this.

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Special Workshops and Seminars

The MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. Program will host a variety of special workshops, seminars and short courses designed to enhance your background in the sciences, and better prepare you for a research career. These will be scheduled to be complementary to your academic course load.

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Academic and Career Advisement

Your research director recognizes that part of his/her job is to serve as academic and career advisor. A good advisor will be an ally in helping you make your way through your academic program with high achievement in a reasonable length of time, and with most of your humor and sanity intact. You should also see your official departmental graduate advisor at least once a quarter. This team of graduate advisor and research advisor will work together on your behalf. However, if you feel you need additional advice beyond these individuals, seek out other advisors.

As soon as possible but not later than the fifth week of your first quarter in the Program, you must submit to the MBRS-RISE program office (PS 628) a quarter-by-quarter plan (on an MBRS-RISE M.S. Scholar Program Plan form) which outlines the courses you intend to take from the time you enter MBRS-RISE to graduation. This form should be signed by you, your research director, and your departmental graduate advisor. This tentative plan of course may change with time. Any decision concerning your academic program for any quarter must be made only after consultation with your MBRS research advisor.

In addition to your Cal State LA Research Director, you will select a co-mentor from the faculty available in the appropriate graduate department at the Ph.D. institution. This individual will be available to provide counsel, make accessible to you the facilities and staff at that institution, and be a member of your M.S. (or M.A.) thesis committee.

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Tutoring

We view tutoring as a valuable performance enhancement tool. Use tutors to help you get a better understanding of the subject matter, and consequently, enhanced academic achievement. Be sure to establish good relationships with your instructors so that you can use them as a resource in their office hours. Also take advantage of the (generally free) tutoring provided by the Learning Resources Center, the Chemistry & Biochemistry Club, the Biology Club, the Department of Physics, and others. More advanced members of your research group may also be good tutors in courses they have already completed successfully. Enlist their help.

The MBRS-RISE program has a limited fund for tutors beyond the sources above. If you need the assistance of a tutor, we can help defray the cost. We have located some tutors and maintain a list in PS 628. You may, however, find your own tutor. We can pay up to $10.00 per hour for tutoring; beyond that you must pay the difference. If you are interested in taking advantage of this, please see Lisa Bautista (PS 628) before your tutoring starts, so that arrangements to pay your tutor can be made. If you have any questions, see Dr. Anthony Fratiello, Tutoring Coordinator (PS 620, x2326; afratie@calstatela.edu).

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Writing Support Program

The ability to write well is among the most valuable skills one can develop in support of a successful career, invaluable for scientific work. It is through the written word that we communicate ideas in grant proposals, report progress, and publish completed studies. We have secured the services of two graduate students in the English department to work with MBRS-RISE students to develop writing skills. The writing specialists are Hugh Bonar (hbonar@calstatela.edu) and Erica Hylton (ehylton@calstatela.edu). They have office space in Physical Sciences 512. Contact them to begin work on improving your writing. They will not write for you, but they will critique your writing and work with you so you learn to write better. Be sure to give yourself enough lead-time so that you may go through several drafts before the final document is turned in to a professor (such as a class paper) or research director (such as a research report, or chapters of a thesis).

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Priority Registration

The University Registrar has granted MBRS-RISE students priority registration. Your name and SID have been sent to the Registrar. Please take advantage of your priority registration status so that you enroll in the classes you need and make good progress towards graduation. The priority registration periods during the current academic year are available at Priority Registration Periods 1999-2000.

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Graduate Record Examination

A major goal of the MBRS-RISE program is to increase the pool of talented minority scientists who earn the Ph.D. and enter biomedical research careers. Strong performance on the GRE is useful in winning admission to good Ph.D. programs. In support of this goal, the Program provides a GRE preparation course through Kaplan Testing Services which you will take in the first year in the Program. The MBRS-RISE Program will also pay fees associated with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). If you plan to take the graduate record exam this year, please let us know as soon as possible so that we may have a check issued to the Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE.

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Registration Fees

Your registration fees for three academic quarters per year are paid by the Program. Please check with Lisa Bautista well in advance of the priority registration period to make sure that your fees have been paid and received by the Registrar.

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Travel to Professional Meetings

A significant advantage of the program is the availability of funds to pay for your travel expenses to professional meetings to present research results and to interact with other investigators in your research area. The decision of which meeting(s) to attend must be made in consultation with your research director, and it is at his/her initiative that Lisa Bautista will arrange for transportation, lodging, payment of registration fees, and securing a per-diem advance for your meals and incidentals. Ms. Bautista handles the travel arrangements for all students in the program (and faculty if they so request). Since meetings are announced months in advance, be sure that your travel arrangements are made as early as possible so we may get the best rates on airfare and hotels. The available funds are limited, so the more wisely we use them, the more students can travel. Discuss with your faculty research director your interest in attending a scientific meeting, and if he/she approves, have them complete and send to Lisa Bautista a travel request form (available online at MBRS Travel Request Form) at least one month in advance, or earlier if the meeting has an earlier registration deadline. Several weeks in advance of your approved travel, you will want to talk to Ms. Bautista to confirm that your reservations and meeting registration are in order prior to travel.

Besides air transportation and lodging, MBRS-RISE provides for meals ($32/day), incidental costs ($5/day after the first 24 hours), and ground transportation (variable) for each complete day (7 a.m. - 6 p.m.) you are away from home. Partial travel day amounts are prorated.

The MBRS-RISE program office will, on request, contact your instructors to let them know you will miss some classes during the period of your trip. This information is also collected on your MBRS Travel Request Form. The letters will be generated and distributed to your instructors two weeks before you travel.

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Payment of Research Salary

A salary of $12,800 per year (increasing to $15,000 on July 1, 2000) is provided for graduate students since it is presumed you will devote full-time effort to your masters program so it may be completed within two years. Graduate students are paid on a 50% research effort basis (the other 50% is presumed to be course work and other requirements of your M.S./M.A. program). The salary is paid in 26 equal biweekly installments.

The University Auxiliary Services (UAS), the accounting enterprise which handles all fiscal transactions for grants, has established a biweekly schedule for payment of salary for your work in the MBRS-RISE program. You should fill out and give your research director a time sheet (available online at UAS Payroll Timesheet), which s/he will sign, certifying the percent effort you have worked. You must then deliver the time sheet to UAS Contract and Grants Administration, located in Administration 307, not later than 12 noon of the day it is due. Alternatively, you may take your completed and signed timesheet to the MBRS-RISE Program Office in PS 628 by 11:30 AM of the due date and we will deliver it to UAS for you. Please consult a UAS time sheet schedule for due dates -- your laboratory likely has one posted. This schedule of due dates is also available online at UAS Pay Period Schedule.

Your research director is the only one who can legitimately certify that the salary to be paid is for work actually done. In exceptional cases (e.g. the student's research director is-off campus), the Program Director (Prof. Carlos Gutierrez) or Associate Program Director (Prof. Anthony Fratiello) can sign a time sheet so that it may be processed by UAS. When someone other than your PI signs your time sheet, UAS is instructed to hold the paycheck until your PI authorizes its release by countersigning a copy of that time sheet.

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Graduate Students Employed as Graduate Assistants/Instructors

Graduate students in the MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. Program are eligible to work as graduate assistants or instructors for their academic departments not more than one quarter per year.

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Parking Permits

MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. students are eligible to purchase faculty/staff parking permits. Please contact UAS Human Resources for authorization to purchase faculty/staff parking permits.

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MBRS-RISE Program Evaluation

The MBRS-RISE M.S.-to-Ph.D. Program is evaluated by the Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC). The goal here is to use the results of on-going evaluation to improve MBRS-RISE Program effectiveness. Your cooperation with the external evaluators is appreciated.

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Scientific Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research

Scientific research is based on trust and honesty, as is all scholarship. You are expected to exercise the most ethical conduct in your academics and research. The notions of scientific integrity and ethical conduct of research are fundamental to the establishment of a research career. The Cal State MBRS-RISE Program provides a workshop for student participants where the topics of experimental design and the philosophy and ethics of research are presented. MBRS-RISE. Scholars receive a copy of On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct In Research published by the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPuP) of the National Academy of Science as background for this workshop.

In addition, throughout the year special seminars will be presented in the Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series devoted to issues dealing with the responsible conduct of research and ethical issues. Finally, we expect that the continual informal conversations between the faculty mentor and the student regarding integrity and ethics will reinforce the material presented in the workshop and in the seminars.

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Useful Forms

The following forms, lists, and schedules (in PDF format) may be useful to you. Any other forms you may need are available in the Program office in PS 628.


If we can be of assistance in furthering your academic or research goals, do not hesitate to approach your research director, or the Program Coordinator (Dr. Raymond Garcia), or Directors (Drs. Carlos Gutierrez and Anthony Fratiello), or Lisa Bautista, Administrative Assistant. We'll try to help as much as we can and are able.

 


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