PREP@Iowa offers research mentorship, career boost

Luis Miguel Garcia Pena says that even though he had experience working in a genetics laboratory as an undergraduate and doing epidemiological and clinical research for Harvard’s school of public health, his “bench skill set was limited.” Before applying to graduate schools, he began looking for research opportunities on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website, where he saw a listing for a small program in Iowa, that could bolster that skill set.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Garcia said at first “the cold winter of Iowa was not particularly appealing for me.” But after reading more about the variety of research projects underway here, he decided to apply. He was easily accepted.

The Carver College of Medicine’s Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) offers members of underrepresented minority (URM) groups the opportunity to deepen their exposure to and experience in biomedical sciences in a rigorous but supportive environment. The year-long, NIH-funded program provides scholars a generous stipend, tuition for a graduate-level course, travel support, and a GRE-preparation course.

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