M-MARC stands for Monarchs Maximizing Access to Research Careers. It is an ODU program that facilitates Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (U*STAR) preparing the students for a research career in Biomedical Sciences. M-MARC is a pre-Ph.D. degree research training program at ODU, which is supported by the Training, Workforce Development & Diversity office of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/.
The NIH MARC program was created because of federal recognition of the importance of promoting diversity in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. The goal of ODU's M-MARC program is to provide a solid foundation for students underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, who have made a firm commitment to entering doctoral training in a biomedical research-relevant program.
The ODU M-MARC program funds undergraduate Juniors and Seniors, who meet the criteria, to work in research laboratories at ODU in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Computer Science or Psychology. M-MARC trainees must be underrepresented in the sciences for ONE of the following reasons:
- They are Black/African American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaskan Native;
- They are financially disadvantaged (eligible for Pell grants or equivalent);
- They have a disability recognized by the ODU Office of Educational Accessibility.
M-MARC activities are designed to ensure that participants develop professional skills and the academic foundations needed to enter and succeed in doctoral programs. M-MARC undergraduates move beyond traditional coursework where laboratory experiments have known and reliable outcomes and perform original scientific research in collaboration with a faculty research mentor. They are involved in the design of their experiments and experience both the exhilaration of obtaining an important result and the frustration of unexpected technical problems and failures.
Many first generation or disadvantaged students do not have the family or social network that can properly understand and encourage them onwards to a doctorate degree. The M-MARC program hopes to build a local support system to help them to do so. In addition, the M-MARC program helps students to build both a local and national network of peers and professional contacts.
Benefits of being an ODU M-MARC Trainee
Hands-on and Lab-based Research Opportunities
- M-MARC Trainees obtain "hands-on" experience in research laboratories at ODU and participate in an extramural summer research experience in the summer before their senior year.
- M-MARC Trainees dedicate 15 hours per week to professional development activities and research.
Honors College Benefits
M-MARC Trainees are required to apply to the Perry Honors College. If accepted, M-MARC trainees will receive benefits reserved for Honors College students including Honors advising & priority registration, scholarship, and travel grant opportunities.
The M-MARC traineeship program is an NIH T34 National Research Service Award and provides a stipend to M-MARC Trainees which is approximately $1000 per month for their participation in M-MARC professional development activities, and their work in the lab of their mentor. M-MARC Trainees are provided with 100% of their tuition & fees.
M-MARC trainees receive travel expenses to attend at least one scientific conference per year, usually the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and/or the Southern Regional Education Board Institute on Teaching & Mentoring. In addition, travel & housing expenses, and a stipend are provided to M-MARC Trainees during their external summer research experience, during the summer before their senior year. This financial benefit nearly guarantees admission to most summer research programs (with sufficient GPA and solid letters of recommendation). For example: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp
Professional Development Opportunities
- Critical thinking, verbal, written & quantitative skills workshops
- Hands-on research training by the Biomedical mentors
- Departmental seminars & scientific colloquia
- Weekly journal club
- Networking opportunities with faculty & students
- Conferences attendance (see Financial Benefits section for details)
- Summer research experience
- GRE, MCAT, and discipline specific Graduate Research Fellowship application preparation assistance
- Understanding the structure of graduate school applications