The Role of Altruistic Values in Motivating Underrepresented Minority Students for Biomedicine
Thoman, Dustin B.
Brown, Elizabeth R.
Smith, Jessi L.
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Understanding how cultural values influence undergraduate students’ science research experiences and career interest is important in efforts to broaden participation and to diversify the biomedical research workforce. The results from our prospective longitudinal study demonstrated that underrepresented minority student (URM) research assistants who see the altruistic value of conducting biomedical research feel more psychologically involved with their research over time, which, in turn, enhances their interest in pursuing a scientific research career. These altruistic motives are uniquely influential to URM students and appear to play an important role in influencing their interest in scientific research careers. Furthermore, seeing how research can potentially affect society and help one's community does not replace typical motives for scientific discovery (e.g., passion, curiosity, achievement), which are important for all students. These findings point to simple strategies for educators, training directors, and faculty mentors to improve retention among undergraduate URM students in biomedicine and the related sciences.
Thoman, Dustin B., Elizabeth R. Brown, Andrew Z. Mason, Allen G. Harmsen, and Jessi L. Smith. The Role of Altruistic Values in Motivating Underrepresented Minority Students for Biomedicine. BioScience. December 2014. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biu199