Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
4. PROGRAM ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: SITE VISIT PERSPECTIVES Site visits provided an in-depth perspective on the operation of the MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program. Individual programs combine campus resources and MARC funding to create a diverse array of training activities. Substantial variation was found in three areas: the use of MARC Honors resources for curriculum development; the encouragement of extramural summer research projects; and the screening of students with professional school aspirations. Discussions with current trainees revealed great enthusiasm for the research component of the MARC Honors program. In many cases, the exposure to research resulted in decisions to pursue careers in biomedical research. The experience of working closely with faculty members was also an important influence on the trainees' academic and career plans. Faculty members reported successful academic and scientific progress of current and former trainees. Research articles had been written by undergraduate trainees, and former trainees had gone on to graduate study at major research institutions. Beyond the personal accomplishments of the trainees, faculty members noted that the MARC Honors trainees serve as role models for other students. They felt that the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program heightened the visibility and prestige of research on campus and stimulated an enthusiasm for science extending beyond the trainee population. Five schools were selected for visits on the basis of their institutional and demographic characteristics. Three schools were traditionally minority institutions, two others were not. There was one doctorate-granting institution. At three other schools, the highest degree offered was a master's degree. The baccalaureate degree 15
l6 was the only degree offered at one institution. Three schools had urban campuses and two had suburban or small town campuses. There were between l0,000 and l5,000 students at 4 of the 5 institutions. One school had fewer than l,000 students. There were two private and three publicly supported institutions. Hispanics were the largest minority group in one training program and were well represented in two other programs. Program directors at the five institutions were informed by letter that their school had been selected for a site visit. The letter described the evaluation being conducted by the Academy and briefly outlined the purpose and goals of the visit (Appendix B). A date for the visit was suggested, and final arrangements were made in a follow-up telephone call. An initial private meeting with the program director was followed by discussions with the other MARC faculty members. These meetings usually involved several faculty members in a group setting. The last part of the site visit was a meeting with the MARC Honors trainees during which faculty members were not present. Drawing upon material collected during the site visits, this chapter will focus on three topics: program activities; administrative processes; and program accomplishments. In addition to site visits, conversations were held with MARC Honors program directors at the Fourth MARC Scholars Conference and Program Directors Meeting. Many of the issues raised during the site visits were discussed at that time and information obtained during these interviews is presented below along with the data collected during site visits. Program Components and Activities Each MARC Honors institution creates its own detailed plan for training. According to the guidelines established by NIH (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, no date), the MARC Honors Undergraduate Training programs are expected to be multi- departmental and to provide a formal research experience for each trainee (including a planned program of summer research and study). Within these guidelines, the MARC Honors programs reflect the unique designs of the applicant institutions. Stipends Each MARC Honors trainee receives a monthly stipend.l The trainee stipends enable some students to stay in school who otherwise would have dropped out for financial reasons. Other students could afford to give up part-time jobs and devote more time to their studies. In some instances this resulted in higher grade point ^ln l977, the stipends were $3,900 per year. At the present time (June l985), the stipend level is $5,004 per year.
17 averages; in other cases it allowed students to remain in science programs and eliminated the pressure to switch to less demanding majors. The stipends were especially vital at urban institutions drawing their students from low income communities. Faculty members frequently described students who would not have been able to complete their undergraduate programs if it were not for the MARC stipend. Laboratory Resources Huge disparities exist in the laboratory resources of rich and poor schools. MARC Honors funds are used to purchase equipment utilized in training MARC Honors students. At schools with limited resources, nearly every major piece of equipment was purchased with MARC Honors or MBRS^ funds. Equipment purchased with MARC Honors funds is often used in general classroom instruction as well as in conjunction with MARC Honors projects. In the absence of these grants, the opportunity to study science at these schools would be noticeably diminished. Curriculum MARC Honors programs enrich the curricula of grant recipient universities in several ways: guest lecturers, trainee seminars, new courses, and new course requirements. MARC Honors activities are almost always open to the entire university community. Guest lecturers from other institutions are brought in to present their research findings. Program directors and faculty members are very enthusiastic about this component of the MARC Honors program. Trainees are especially interested in hearing about the career experiences of minority group members with successful careers in science. Most programs have special course requirements for MARC Honors students. These often include a trainee seminar in which MARC Honors trainees present the results of their research activities. The trainee seminars may also be used to introduce the students to new research techniques and laboratory instrumentation. Some programs use this seminar to introduce special topics into the curriculum (e.g., scientific writing and the use of computers in research). The number of new courses initiated as a result of the MARC Honors program varies across schools. Fewer new courses are needed at the more established science centers. At other schools, the MARC Honors program aids the creation of new courses by supplying the funds to develop a course, providing faculty release time, or generating a 2 The Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program is funded by the Division of Research Resources of NIH. Its characteristics and its relationship to MARC are discussed below.
18 critical mass of students to support a new course offering. New courses have been established in physiology, human anatomy, mathematical biology, mathematics for biologists, and computer applications in the biological sciences. In at least one school, the MARC Honors program provided a model for the revision of the general curriculum. However, as one program director noted, disciplinary diversity has made curriculum innovation difficult. It was his observation that many programs started out emphasizing curriculum innovation only to shift their emphasis to research training in their renewal applications. Professional Meetings An important facet of the MARC Honors program is the opportunity it provides trainees to attend professional meetings. These experiences are significant stimuli for personal as well as professional growth. MARC-supported travel to professional meetings affords many trainees their first opportunity for travel away from home, and it introduces them to the social as well as scientific challenges of a research career. The major issue concerning professional meetings is how to allocate the limited travel resources. There is some disagreement over which travel experiences are the most beneficial to the trainees. Some program directors feel that more emphasis should be placed on attending major scientific meetings. They believe that MARC Honors students could and should participate in the mainstream of their chosen disciplines rather than in sheltered MARC environments. Others argue that travel to MARC- or MBRS-sponsored meetings provides the students with the opportunity to participate in the meetings rather then merely attend them. Research Exposure: Participation in Faculty Research Projects The MARC Honors program offers the trainees direct, firsthand exposure to scientific research. As faculty members readily acknowledge, research is not normally a part of the scientific education of undergraduates. Even on campuses with active researchers, it takes a special effort (like the MARC Honors program) to integrate undergraduate students into laboratory research. As one student remarked, "You can go through a biology program here and not know what research is like." MARC Honors students appreciate the unique opportunity that the research exposure affords them. It is the most frequently and consistently cited benefit of program participation. The benefits of "hands on" laboratory experience have been recognized in other evaluations. In a recently completed study of precollege mathematics and science programs for women and minorities, Malcom and associates (l984) found that involving students in the "doing of science and mathematics" was the primary feature of successful programs.
l9 MARC Honors trainees participate directly in the research activities of faculty members. They learn laboratory methods and techniques from their faculty mentors and participate in a broad range of research activities. Research Exposure: Summer Research Projects Involvement in research takes place all year round, but a significant research experience takes place in the summer (usually the summer before the senior year). For most students, a summer research project is conducted off-campus at a major research institution. Special summer programs for minority college students have been in existence since the late l960s (Malcom, et al., l976, and Tristan et al., l98l). Biomedical research programs now exist at 19 institutions, and reports of the successful achievements of summer program alumni are now beginning to appear. Hamilton (l977) describes the results of a summer program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that was started in l97l. Of the 60 summer students who graduated by June l976, 23 entered medical or dental schools and l8 entered graduate programs (Hamilton, l977). The summer research project is one of the most valuable parts of the MARC Honors program. Students are very enthusiastic about their research and give very articulate descriptions of their projects. Fre- quently, these laboratory experiences have a major impact on students' career goals or research interests. At the MARC Student Symposium, a trainee noted that "our school is not very well equipped and I didn't like research. The [summer] experience at Galveston changed my attitude towards research." Students are often exposed to techniques and areas of research not availaole back at their home campus. Trainees who travel to other campuses for their summer research projects report personal as well as intellectual growth. Increased self-confidence is a frequently mentioned result of the off-campus summer research experience. In the words of one MARC Honors trainee: "When we were here on campus, we knew very little. When we went away, we began to work on our own. Now that we are back, we are more independent. This independence is outside the lab, too. Once you learn to make choices for yourself, it's hard to stop." While all MARC Honors programs have a summer research component, not all of the schools send their students to other institutions. Faculty members at the more research-oriented schools are divided over whether or not to keep students on campus for the summer. Faculty members often invest substantial amounts of time training their MARC Honors students in laboratory techniques. Having a student work in the lab through the summer can be partial repayment for the mentor's investment. At the same time, faculty members appreciate the amount of personal and intellectual growth that the students experience as the result of an off-campus research experience. One MARC faculty member expressed the dilemma directly:
20 We are one of the campuses where all of the faculty are researchers. Students who leave forego the possibility of a published paper due to the interruption. Some students who leave get the benefit of a maturing experience. Not all students need to go away. I lost one of my best students through a placement at a lab across town. But what could I do? They had better equipment than I did. Some MARC faculty members are uncertain of the type of experience the student will receive at another site, and are reluctant to gamble when a laboratory of known quality is available on campus. Several faculty members cite the advantage to the student of continuous, uninterrupted work on a single project. One faculty member pointed out that one of her students is the coauthor of an article in a major professional journal. This opportunity would have been lost had the student gone to an off-campus laboratory for his summer research experience. Another faculty member reported a similar experience: I'm very much in favor of students going away. But one of my students stayed and that turned out to be a tremendous benefit to me as a professional. Our work led to collaboration with a nationally known scientist. For me, this has been very fruitful as a teacher and as a researcher. Administrative Processes Program Directors and MARC Faculty Members One important feature of MARC Honors programs is the enormous effort put forth by the program directors. At very little compensation, and often at a cost to other aspects of their careers, they devote substantial portions of their time to the MARC Honors program. The program serves as a focal point for faculty members' personal commitment and dedication to the educational needs of minority students. Instances were repeatedly described where faculty members assisted trainees struggling with personal or financial problems. MARC Honors programs draw upon the enthusiasm of the participating faculty members. The resources of the MARC Honors program increase the flexibility of the faculty in their efforts to advance the scientific careers of minority-group students. Departmental Composition The MARC Honors program is an interdisciplinary program. The departments participating in a given campus program are the result of arrangements made at each institution. Except for the universal presence of biology departments, there is no prescribed pattern. Chemistry departments are frequent participants followed by smaller numbers of psychology, mathematics, and physics departments.
2l There are several advantages to the interdisciplinary composition. It provides the students with a broad exposure to biomedical research and opens the MARC Honors program to a larger group of students than would be possible with a single-discipline program. The voluntary nature of departmental participation also insures that the program is not held back by less enthusiastic departments. For the most part, the interdisciplinary orientation works well. Few problems are noted by faculty or students. Students frequently remark that they appreciate the exposure to new disciplines, new research methods, and new laboratory techniques that the MARC Honors program offers them. Problems with the interdisciplinary structure are concentrated among students from disciplines other than biology or chemistry. For these students, the ratio of familiar to unfamiliar material is probably smaller than for the more mainstream biology and chemistry students. Computer science students are among the least enthusiastic about their MARC projects. Several report that their MARC work was unrelated to their career goals. Undergraduates in some disciplines may not have the preparation to work as peers with biomedical researchers and may be absorbed into projects in a service or support role. Comments made by computer science trainees illustrate some of these perils: My experience was more of an assistantship working with a statistician on a biomedical research project. Our limited background in biology was a limitation. As far as any research on my own, that was practically nil. * * * Our research interests are less well developed because we have been working outside our field rather than In computer science. * * * My project was an offshoot of a class project. I basically went off on my own and worked trial and error. Administrative Support The amount of support that MARC Honors programs receive from their institutions varies greatly. Some programs receive additional funds from the university. At one school, the university pays for the teaching of noncredit review courses established specially for MARC Honors students while other schools indirectly support the MARC Honors program by maintaining equipment purchased with MARC or MBRS funds. In most cases, however, the MARC Honors program provides more assistance to the general university community than it receives. On campuses where "seed money" for research is not available, MARC equipment purchases enable new faculty to initiate a research program. The existence of a MARC Honors program and the opportunity to qualify for MARC Honors traineeships is also used to help attract new students to campus.
22 Recruitment Programs use a variety of methods to recruit prospective MARC Honors trainees. While formal mechanisms (campus newspaper advertisements, posters, and classroom announcements) are used, informal procedures tend to be most effective. A large portion of the MARC Honors trainees interviewed during the site visits reported learning about the program from friends and classmates. Faculty members are the second most common channel of recruitment. The dependence on informal mechanisms reflects the social patterns on many campuses. Programs on "commuter campuses" are at a disadvantage in reaching students. Some program directors obtain lists of students meeting the eligibility criteria from the registrar and approach these students about applying to the MARC Honors program. Funding uncertainty also handicaps the recruitment efforts of the program directors. When exact funding levels are not known, program directors must chose between overrecruiting or underrecruiting. The sudden availability of funding at the last minute raises another dilemma: program directors must decide whether to "fill slots" or allow positions to remain vacant due to the absence of more desirable candidates. Student Populations Recruitment success is hampered more by the size of the pool of eligible students than by the strategies employed by program directors. The schools vary enormously in the number of students eligible for MARC Honors traineeships; the number of trainee positions at each institution has less variation. Smaller schools have more difficulty locating eligible students. Some of these schools have been facing declining enrollments as a result of demographic trends and school desegregation. At some of the smaller, traditionally minority institutions, the existence of a MARC Honors program is used to help attract new students to the college. MARC Honors programs play a special role at these schools. Minority institutions have always had a unique role in the training of minority scientists. Jay (l977) described the profile of the "typical" black scientist as southern born with a baccalaureate degree from a historically black institution and then a doctorate from a majority institution. Gilford and Snyder (l977) examined the undergraduate institutions of blacks receiving doctorate degrees in the life sciences from 1973 to l976. Every one of the 20 highest ranking undergraduate institutions was predominantly black. Recognizing this relationship between minority institutions and minority doctorate recipients, several studies have recommended the enhancement of the science curricula at these institutions (Melnick, l977, and National Advisory Committee on Black Higher Education and Black Colleges and Universities, l979). One program director suggested that the students served by MARC Honors programs at historically minority schools receive more exposure
23 to scientific research than minority students attending major research universities because minority students at minority institutions are more likely to be interacting with researchers. Combining this environment with access to researchers and laboratories at more affluent sites through the summer placements, the MARC Honors programs provide a unique service at smaller, traditionally minority schools. Clinical Careers Increasing the number of minority group members pursuing research careers in the biomedical sciences is the primary objective of the MARC Honors program. This objective is complicated by the attractiveness of careers in the health professions. These professions have a clearly recognized status. (One program director reported that his institution was criticized by its alumni because too many of its graduates went on for Ph.D.s rather than M.D.s.) The exclusion of students with career goals in the health professions requires MARC Honors programs to sometimes pass over bright and promising science students. Program directors report that trainee positions sometimes went unfilled because the best candidates for them seemed likely to pursue a medical degree. Given the desirability of MARC Honors trainingâin addition to the financial rewards, MARC training is popularly seen as enhancing chances for medical school admissionâthere is an incentive to downplay clinical aspirations in the application period. The most straightforward students place themselves at a disadvantage relative to their less candid classmates. Faculty members at different MARC Honors programs may also differ in the degree to which they probe the career plans of MARC Honors applicants. The percentage of MARC Honors trainees voicing plans for clinical careers varies across schools, suggesting variation across programs in willingness or ability to exclude students interested in the health professions. Several MARC Honors program directors argued that exposure to research might alter the plans of the aspiring health professional. This point was made very dramatically during one site visit. All five of the members of the biology faculty had originally planned medical careers but switched after having been exposed to laboratory research. The MARC Honors program may be passing over some of the best science studentsâstudents who may become attracted to researchâbecause of their initial inclination to attend medical school. Several MARC Honors program directors claim that their alumni who go on to clinical or professional programs will become clinical researchers. Others add that they will become better clinicians because of their research exposure. In the words of one program director: MARC makes all the stuaents more research oriented, regardless of other factors. MARC students would be better prepared as physicians and have a greater appreciation of research than the normal students.
24 Faculty members are well aware of the growing concern over the number of clinical researchers and of the efforts underway to increase their numbers. In recent years, there seems to be a greater willing- ness to accept students with plans to attend professional schools. Increasingly, students with plans for medical school are being accepted as MARC Honors trainees on the grounds that they are preparing for an M.D./Ph.D. program or because they plan a career in clinical research. One director stated that he tells applicants with plans to attend professional schools that they have a lower priority than those students seeking a Ph.D. MARC and MBRS Another NIH program, the Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program, was created to increase minority student, faculty, and institutional involvement in biomedical research. Undergraduate students participate in MBRS as employees on faculty research projects. Initially called the Minority Biomedical Support (MBS) program, the first awards were made in l972. All but nine of the MARC schools have MBRS programs or are affiliated witn institutions having MBRS programs. Students occasionally move from one program to the other. Since the MARC Honors program funds only juniors or seniors, some institu- tions fund promising freshmen and sophomores on MBRS. Students with plans for careers in the health professions are not excluded from the MBRS programs, and schools sometimes move students between MARC and MBRS as their plans shift from clinical to research careers or vice versa. Occasionally MBRS is used to fund a student who shows strong potential, but whose grade point average is below the 3.0 required for the MARC Honors program. Institutions vary in the degree of interconnection between MARC Honors and MBRS. At some schools, the MARC and MBRS grant holders are the same individual. In some cases, the programs function as a single entity differing only in student selection criteria and funding arrangements. Recruitment, seminars, research projects, and extracurricular activities are shared, and little distinction is made between MARC Honors and MbRS activities. At other schools, the two programs operate as fully distinct units with separate administrative structures and separate program activities. They may cooperate informally, referring students to the program for which they are most suited in terms of grade point averages and career goals, or they may operate in complete independence of one another. Regardless of the degree of formal cooperation between the pro- grams, MARC Honors programs build upon a pre-existing MBRS foundation. Equipment purchased under MBRS grants and faculty research supported by MBRS grants provides a base that is essential for the MARC Honors programs. This is particularly true for the least developed institutions. At these schools, most (if not all) of the research activity is supported by MBRS. If it were not for MBRS, the research environment necessary for the MARC Honors program would not be present at many program schools.
25 Program Outcomes and Accomplishments Student-Faculty Interaction The importance of role models in increasing the number of minority scientists and professionals has been noted by several researchers (Malcom et al., l976; Green, l976; Ashe, l978; and Murphy and McNair, l98l). More recently, Thomas (l984) found that college students majoring in the sciences were more likely to have had earlier encounters with role models who were scientists, engineers, doctors, or lawyers. Reviewing several studies of the career choices of minorities and women, Thomas suggested that minorities and women choose some fields over others because adequate representation of women and minorities is related to a perception of less discrimination and greater opportunity for advancement. The shortage of minority scientists and mentors may do more than just dampen aspirations. Blackwell (l98l) noted that the importance of personal references in academia (the "old boy network") tends to work against minority students, especially those from minority institutions. The MARC Honors program is an important vehicle for encouraging and enhancing student-faculty interaction. This is a particularly important part of the MARC Honors experience at newer and larger urban institutions. Students get to know faculty members on a personal basis. As one student remarked, "I used to go home right after class. Now I spend time in the lab. I get to know what the professors are like." Another student noted that the "role model impact of MARC is important. It enables us to see members of our own ethnic group as scientists. Success does not seem so formidable." The life of a researcher is demystified; trainees are able to identify with their mentors and come to appreciate the benefits and attainability of a research career. Students receive encouragement from the faculty and learn that they are wanted, that the world of research is open to them. Publications The publication of research findings is a major accomplishment for an undergraduate student. At almost every institution visited, MARC Honors students are coauthoring scientific papers and presenting their work at scientific meetings. Achievements of this level are found only among MARC Honors and MBRS students at the schools visited. One faculty member reported that two of her MARC Honors undergraduate students will be presenting their work at a national meeting of a scientific society, the first undergraduates in the history of the society to do so. Awareness of Research and Research Careers MARC Honors programs, by virtue of their visibility and prestige, have increased the awareness of research careers on campus and have
26 enhanced the esteem in which they are held. One program director reported a significant increase in the number of students with research orientations since the establishment of the MARC Honors program. "The knowledge that MARC has graduate school goals has increased interest in graduate school." Another program director observed that "over 90 percent of our biology and chemistry majors are premed. MARC students have done a lot to dispel the view that graduate school is less prestigious than medical school." At newly established universities, the MARC Honors program provides a nucleus for the development of a "science subculture." At urban schools it helps the trainees to break out of the commuter pattern and facilitates an academic environment similar to that found on residential campuses. The impersonal atmosphere of the urban campus is transcended. The trainees learn from each other and help to socialize one another into the norms and practices of science. The impact has spread beyond the MARC Honors trainees and at several schools, faculty members report a greater interest in research among nonMARC students. Scientific honor societies on two campuses received new energy as a result of the enthusiasm for science scholarship generated by the MARC Honors program. The traineeship also gives the student a special status, an identity on campus. The MARC Honors trainees at some schools form an identifiable group and receive recognition from their peers for being part of an academic elite. This reinforces their identity as future scientists. The presence of MARC Honors students in the classroom provides nontrainees with a standard of performance and stimulates a healthy competition among the students. The Demand for MARC Honors Students One indicator of the success of the MARC Honors program is the high level of demand for MARC trainees. At the MARC Scholars Conference, the trainees are besieged by recruiters from dozens of major research universities. MARC program directors also report that they are approached with inquiries about their trainees from graduate schools. Fellowship opportunities also seem abundant for former MARC Honors trainees. A MARC predoctoral fellowship program (separate from the Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program) was established by NIH. Recently, there has been some concern expressed over the small number of applicants. Many of the program directors attribute the low level of predoctoral fellowship applications to the success in getting MARC Honors students into the education mainstream. Graduate schools offer financial support to the MARC Honors graduates as part of their recruitment effort. Given the success experienced by the trainees in securing their own predoctoral funding, many program directors support the idea that some of the funds currently earmarked for predoctoral fellowships be used to fund more undergraduate trainees. There is also a healthy competition for MARC Honors students among the large (and growing) number of schools that run summer training
27 programs for minority students. Professor Victor Rodwell, director of a summer institute at Purdue University, has compiled a list of l9 such programs. Another ll programs are in the planning stages. These summer institutes are not funded by MARC, yet MARC Honors programs are a major source of participants. The willingness of so many institu- tions to invest in the training of MARC Honors students may be seen as a positive reflection on the quality of the trainees. Program directors also report a strong interest from the business community in providing summer internships for MARC Honors trainees. Institutional Linkages The MARC Honors program has helped to link teachers and researchers at grantee institutions to colleagues on other campuses. Funds to bring in outside lecturers have reduced the professional isolation of faculty members at many MARC Honors campuses. At one institution, a new course taught by faculty members from a nearby university and paid for by MARC Honors funds produced greater professional contact between the faculty members of the two schools and resulted in the opportunity for students at the MARC school to use sophisticated scientific instruments at the other institution. The Annual Student Symposium and Program Directors Meeting also provides the opportunity for the faculty members to discuss their training activities and to compare experiences. An organization of MARC Honors program directors has evolved from these meetings, and a newsletter has been established to exchange information about training activities. Valuable personal and professional contacts are also made during the summer research programs. The off-campus summer research experiences also serve as an aid to graduate school admission and recruiting. The summer project is an opportunity for both students and graduate programs to take a close look at each other. In addition to the useful contacts made by individual students in summer research programs, faculty members at less established schools expressed the belief that the MARC summer placements broke down stereotypes of their institutions and enhanced their school's reputation in wider scientific circles. In some cases, relationships established by students on their summer projects have led to contacts between faculty members of the MARC and the summer institutions. Several of these contacts have been very beneficial to the research activities of MARC Honors faculty members. One program director reported that, as a result of summer program exposure to MARC Honors trainees from his school, a faculty member from a major research institution has decided to come to the program director's school to teach for a semester. Conclusions The MARC Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program has produced a diverse array of training programs adapted to the unique
28 needs of the recipient institutions and their students. MARC Honors funding (often in conjunction with MBRS resources) facilitates and enhances the research training efforts of faculty members and program directors. Guest speakers are brought to campus, laboratory equipment is purchased, new courses are developed, and institutional links are forged. In addition to an enhanced science curriculum, the MARC Honors trainees receive direct assistance in their pursuit of science careers: stipends, laboratory experience, close contact with researchers, and exposure to professional settings (seminars, conferences, and meetings). The MARC Honors trainees are very enthusiastic about the research experience they gain as a part of the MARC Honors program. Many students credit the research exposure as the chief determinant of their decision to pursue a research career. Working on a one-to-one basis with a faculty member, the trainees were able to see the attractions and desirability of a research career. Faculty members are also enthusiastic about the MARC Honors program because it makes research a part of the undergraduate science curriculum. They see the work of the MARC Honors trainees (both in the laboratory and in the classroom) as providing a model for the other students. The MARC Honors program heightens the visibility and prestige of scientific research on many campuses and promotes a new interest in science that extends beyond the trainee population. In addition to the testimony of students and faculty, there are other indicators of the success of MARC Honors training efforts. Trainees are coauthoring publications based on their research. This had not been the case at these institutions before the initiation of the MARC Honors program. The demand for MARC Honors students (who are sought out by summer program directors and graduate school recruiters) is further evidence of the quality of the trainees. There are, however, some unresolved questions about program eligibility and program activities. The location of the summer research experience is an important issue. The most crucial issues concern who is to be trained. Some students in fields other than biology and chemistry are not well integrated into research activities. At the present time there are wide variations across programs in the admission of preprofessional students.