VCU GREAT to provide students from underrepresented backgrounds with research training, opportunities

A group of students pose for a photo next to a Spit for Science poster.

VCU Guided Research Experiences & Applied Training, or VCU GREAT, grew out of Spit for Science, an ongoing universitywide research project at VCU that creates unique, cross-disciplinary opportunities for students to work with leading researchers in substance use and emotional health.

A newly established program at Virginia Commonwealth University will provide undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds with the opportunity to gain research skills training, work in campus research labs and receive mentorship from VCU faculty researchers.

The program, VCU Guided Research Experiences & Applied Training, or VCU GREAT, is funded by a recently awarded $486,000 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism that has a goal of not only training young researchers but also to diversify the pipeline of scientists working in the fields of substance use and genetics research.

“We know there is a lack of diversity among scientists engaged in biomedical and behavioral research,” said Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics in the School of Medicine. “This grant focuses on introducing students from a diversity of backgrounds to the research process, with the long-term goal of creating a more diverse scientific workforce.”

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