RISE Academic Year Research Scholars Program

Program Description

The RISE Program at Sacramento State is a research-training program designed to cultivate talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing biomedical research careers. By participating in the RISE Program, students will become: 1) more competent within their scientific disciplines; 2) more confident in their laboratory skills; and 3) more resilient to adversity in the classroom as well as in the laboratory. The RISE Program will provide its participants support for year-round hands-on research opportunities at Sacramento State or at the nearby UC Davis Medical Center or the main campus, and career enhancement activities to become competitive for admission to PhD programs in the biomedical fields and successful completion of the program.

What is a PhD?  The term PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy and confers the title Doctor upon successful candidates. It is an advanced postgraduate degree involving five or more years of independent research on an original topic under the guidance of academic supervisors, experts in their fields. Completion of a PhD degree results in a thesis that offers a significant original contribution to knowledge. A PhD is the highest academic degree an individual can achieve and is a qualification for a career in academia or industry.

What is Biomedical Research? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define biomedical research as “research that is conducted to increase fundamental knowledge and understanding of the physical, chemical and functional mechanisms of human life processes and diseases”. In other words, biomedical research is a broad area of science that looks for ways to prevent and treat diseases that cause illness and death in people and in animals. It is a general field of research, which includes different areas of both the life and physical sciences (e.g., biology and chemistry).  

Program Requirements: Students selected to participate in the RISE Program must be committed to pursuing a PhD degree in biomedical research. The RISE Program is defined by a set of research-related activities that will prepare Research Scholars for the application process and admission into PhD programs. These required activities include: 

  • Research training under the supervision of a Sacramento State or UC Davis professor
  • Graduate school preparation workshops
  • Graduate school and career advising
  • Biomedical research seminars
  • Help with graduate school applications
  • Attending local, regional and national scientific conferences
  • Presenting research posters and giving oral presentations
  • Certification in research ethics during your first semester in the program
  • Registering in Senior Thesis course during your last Spring semester
  • Preparing a draft grant proposal to fund your graduate education
  • Applying to at least three (3) PhD programs during the fall semester of your graduating year

Student Support:  Students selected for the RISE Program will earn $12.50/hour for research work (up to 15 hours/week during the academic year, and up to 40 hours/week during summer). Additionally, each student will receive $2,000 for research supplies during the academic year and $1,500 for research supplies in the summer. 


To be eligible to participate in the program, students must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Belong to a group underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, including any of the following:
    • African American      • Possessing disabilities
    • Native American       • First generation college/educationally disadvantaged
    • Latino                       • Family income below the poverty line
    • Pacific Islander
  • Enrolled in at least 12 units in one of the following majors, with at least one year until graduation:
    • B.S. Chemistry
    • B.S. Biochemistry
    • B.S. Biological Sciences, Cell and Molecular Biology concentration
    • B.S. Biological Sciences, Microbiology concentration
    • Biological Sciences pre-major with intent to enter one of the aforementioned concentrations
  • GPA of at least 3.0 for the last three semesters
  • Member of the Science Educational Equity (SEE) Program (If you are not currently a member, you can still apply and become a SEE member after acceptance into RISE)
  • Demonstration of a strong interest to enter graduate programs leading to a PhD in a field related to biomedical research following completion of bachelor’s degree
  • Students planning on attending professional schools, i.e. medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or other healthcare fields are not eligible.

This program is housed within the Science Educational Equity Program and it funded through the National Institute of Health (NIH) - Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program (Grant #: 1R25GM122667). with the purpose of examining the impact of extracurricular research training activities on underrepresented students’ decision to pursue a graduate degree in the biomedical sciences. By participating in this research training program, you will be contributing to the general knowledge for the advancement of underrepresented individuals into biomedical careers. As such, you will be asked to participate in a study that assesses the efficacy of the RISE Program activities. Your participation in the RISE Program is voluntary, but if you agree to participate in the Program you will also agree to participate in the adjunct study. You may leave the Program and the study at any time, and you will be paid all salary earned up to your point of separation.

 Application Process

Please submit a hard copy of all application materials and a letter of recommendation from your research mentor to the Center for Science and Math Success (Sequoia Hall, Room 320).  The priority deadline is 12:00 pm, Tuesday, Friday, April 20, 2018.  However, applications will be accepted until all slots are filled. 

 If you have questions regarding the program, the application, or help with the application, please contact the SEE Program at (916) 278-6519 or email Dr. McCarthy at mccarthy@csus.edu. 

The RISE Program Coordinator will review applications and will contact selected students for an interview.

Click here for the application