Skills Development Workshops

Expanding the Diversity of the Scientific Workforce

The Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE)
is an NIH student development program for minority-serving institutions which aims to encourage students from underrepresented minority groups to attend college, continue in college, and apply for graduate programs.

GuamThe Center was an active participant in the University of Guam and the New Mexico State University RISE programs. These target universities have a high percentage of underrepresented minorities (Hispanic, Native American and Polynesian).

The outreach program we developed was designed to use computational and systems biology for student mentored guided enquiry. Our previous Education Core Leader Dr. Randy Smith visited each university campus for three to four days to lead the program in collaboration with the local faculty.


The workshop promoted skills development in two interconnected areas: data analysis and research communication.

Data Analysis

Students were first introduced to the methodology and application of a set of analytical software tools, through a lecture and hands on computer session. The students then perform their own, guided analysis of Center data, for example, investigating the genetics underlying diseases through identification of quantitative trait loci affecting phenotypes.

Research Communication

Oral presentation skills were also stressed in the workshop, in particular how to improve the presentation of scientific information. This element of the course was achieved through peer review after a seminar on communication skills followed by an interactive session in which student presentations were recorded and feedback discussed. Theater techniques for controlling stage fright, movement on stage, direction of attention, and audience engagement were presented in hands on group sessions. The result was dramatic. The workshops concluded with the student teams presenting a student symposium of their work to the faculty.

Past Workshops

University of Guam
January 15-18, 2011; January 18-19, 2010
Faculty: Christopher S. Lobban, Division of Natural Sciences, University of Guam
In the 2010 workshop presentations were offered both by faculty on site and also by scientists at both Jackson campuses (Maine and California) using the Center’s internet-based videoconferencing software

New Mexico State University
January 25-27 2011; June 8-10, 2010
Faculty: Brook G Milligan, Department of Biology, New Mexico State University
New Mexico RISE Website: