Science identity represents the extent to which students conceive of themselves as scientists and is one of the hallmarks of the NIH Diversity Program Consortium (DPC).a Data from the 2017 Student Annual Follow-up Survey (SAFS) indicates that BUILD students in biomedical majors have a higher average science identity score than non-BUILD biomedical students at the same institutions. The higher science identity among BUILD students occurs for most racial/ethnic groups and for all items in the science identity scale. Given the importance of science identity to continuing on the biomedical career pathway, these results suggest that BUILD students are more likely to persist in science majors and careers than other biomedical science students at their institutions.
A major NIH initiative is underway to determine the most effective ways to engage students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research, and to prepare students to become potential future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. The 10 grantees vary widely, from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), where most biomedical graduates are from underrepresented groups, to large public schools with moderate representation of underrepresented groups among their biomedical graduates. Graduation data from four years pregrant and two early years of the BUILD program show a general trend of constant proportions of underrepresented minority (URM) students graduating in biomedical majors, with a few institutions showing a rapid growth in the numbers that reflects overall increases in their number of students graduating with biomedical degrees over that time. Since few graduating students would have been involved in the new programs in the period shown, these trend data are best considered baseline or preintervention information that can be used in future years to help assess the institutional impact of the BUILD grants.
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) provides researchers across all career stages with mentorship and professional development programming that emphasizes the benefits and challenges of diversity, inclusivity and culture (https://nrmnet.net). Individuals register on the NRMN online portal to use virtual mentoring, access online resources, or sign up for a wide variety of training events. When enrolling through the online portal, all registrants are required to identify as a mentor or mentee, regardless of how they use NRMN.
Within the biomedical disciplines, faculty-student mentorship is a key component for success. Mentors provide support, motivation, and advice to students that increase their social capital in research, as well as their skills and identities as scientists. Increasing mentoring self-efficacy is one of the hallmarks (FAC-3) that serves as an intermediate outcome for the NIH Diversity Program Consortium (DPC).1 Data from the 2016–2017 HERI Faculty Survey2 finds that biomedical faculty respondents at the 10 BUILD sites report having higher mentoring self-efficacy scores if they are involved with the BUILD program than if they are not. This suggests that BUILD students are likely to have access to higher quality mentoring than other biomedical students.