Minnesota Inclusive Neuroscience Development Scholars (MINDS) Program

Post-Baccalaureate Research Program for Underrepresented Minorities in Pursuit of a Career in Neuroscience

Mission: The mission of the MINDS program is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in neuroscience-related careers. We believe that one point of attrition is immediately after college graduation. The goal of the MINDS program is to provide financial support for underrepresented minority (URM) college graduates to pursue 1-2 years of independent research in a neuroscience laboratory at the University of Minnesota prior to graduate or medical school. The goal of the program is to provide laboratory and research experience that encourages intellectual as well as technical growth, helps build confidence in lab settings and gives opportunities for the students to obtain “deliverables” in the form of first author posters and co-authored papers. Graduate school entry has become increasingly competitive and graduate schools’ admissions committees emphasize research experience. We believe this emphasis leads to a substantial roadblock for some URM individuals. Our goal is to make URM individuals more competitive for graduate school at a nationwide level by increasing access to meaningful laboratory research experiences. Finally, the goal of this program is to service our local community by uplifting individuals within the state of Minnesota.

Who is Eligible: Participants must be underrepresented minorities (Blacks or African-Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islander) that have recently obtained or will obtain a B.A. or B.S. or equivalent from a 4-year college or university by the start of the program. Individuals must have the intention to apply to either graduate or medical school. Preference may be given to individuals who are either permanent residents of Minnesota or have attended a 4-year college or university in the state of Minnesota.

Program Features:

  • Research: The MINDS program will provide a stipend of $35,000 to awardees. In addition, individuals will be awarded a $1500 discretionary fund that may be used for travel, computer or moving expenses.

The expectation is that MINDS awardees will spend the vast majority of their time conducting primary research in a neuroscience laboratory at the University of Minnesota. In coordination with their sponsor, individuals must conduct “independent” research projects. Note, this project may be a part of a larger research project being done in the lab. Moreover, we expect that the individual will receive supervision and guidance from other individuals in the laboratory in addition to the PI. Individuals are expected to present a poster at the annual Neuroscience Post-Baccalaureate Poster Session. Individuals are also highly encouraged to present a poster at an extramural event.

  • Career Development: MINDS awardees are expected to attend neuroscience colloquiums and seminars. They are also expected to attend Neuroscience Department wide Post-Bac Program events. Additional career development programming will be provided to MINDS awardees including one-on-one assistance in a) crafting competitive CVs and Research Statements b) interviewing c) choosing where to apply d) navigating your first year in graduate school e) what is a career in neuroscience?

Program Events:  All post-baccalaureates researchers or equivalent (CS Researcher 1 and 2) are invited to attend several events sponsored by the MINDS program and Department of Neuroscience:

  • Annual Welcome Gathering
  • Monthly Meet-Ups with other Neuroscience Post-Bacs or equivalent
  • Neuroscience Seminars and Colloquium
  • Annual Neuroscience Career Panel
  • Annual Post-Bac Poster Session

Program Duration: Applicants will be awarded the $35,000 stipend and career development programming for one year. Individuals may apply for a second year of funding. This will be awarded pending assessment of research progress and commitment from the sponsor. We cannot guarantee that this will be for the full stipend amount. The sponsor must commit to covering any remaining amount in order to maintain the awardee at his/her/their current level of funding.

Application Materials: Applicants must submit the following materials:

  • CV or Resume
  • Unofficial College Transcripts
  • Research statement (1 pg, single spaced, 11 pt font, Arial or Helvetica)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Letter of commitment from Sponsor – We strongly encourage individuals to contact potential sponsors prior to application. However, individuals must submit a letter of commitment from the sponsor no later than 2 weeks after receiving the award notification to receive funds.

Timeline:

January 15, 2021: Program announcement

March 1, 2021: Application materials are due

April 15, 2021: Notification of awards

April 30, 2021: Letter of Commitment from Sponsor due if not already submitted with application materials.

June 30, 2021: Program start date

June 30, 2022: Program end date for Year 1

We hope to fund 3-5 slots for the first year of this program.