Project Details


PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT Penn State Cancer Institute’s (PSCI) PROMISE program (Penn State Research training in Oncology and Medicine to Inspire Student Engagement) is a holistic approach to inspire, attract, and retain cancer researchers for the 21st century biomedical workforce. The program engages STEM college undergraduates and medical students in an immersive program that provides authentic individual and team research experiences, demonstrating first-hand how new cancer research discoveries are translated into clinical and societal practice. Additional program workshops provide support training in both professional and personal skills needed for sustained research careers. PROMISE emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of modern cancer research. We will recruit motivated and talented students from a variety of disciplines and create an environment in which cancer research is approachable and accessible for all participants. The PROMISE design is built upon a relational pedagogical model with peers, near-peers, and faculty to promote participants’ sense of belonging in, and contributing to, the cancer research community. The long-term goals of PROMISE are to instill in participants a comprehensive understanding of cancer as a disease (how it is prevented, controlled, and treated), while stimulating interest in oncology careers and providing skills needed for durable research careers. To achieve these goals, Specific Aim 1 will provide integrated training in basic, clinical, and populations science approaches through mentored research experiences. The PROMISE: Research for Life training focus will show students how interdisciplinary research is conducted to solve current oncology problems and to save lives through effective cancer management. Under the experienced mentorship of PSCI scientists and clinicians, the cohort will learn the language, techniques, strategies, and concepts used every day by cancer researchers. Specific Aim 2 will enhance trainee effectiveness through intensive support activities and rigorous program outcomes evaluations. Workshop activities will provide the opportunity to experience peer acceptance, identify role models, and overcome potential roadblocks to a successful research career. Events with stakeholders highlight how advances in clinical oncology and societal practice are driven by research discoveries. Specific Aim 3 will create a diverse coalition cohort from varied disciplines that includes underserved students, and inspire them to pursue advanced training in cancer research and/or clinical oncology. STEM students who do not traditionally enter biomedical careers will learn basic cancer biology and realize they can contribute to advancing cancer health outcomes through collaborative research. Peer and near-peer mentors will support self-identification as a cancer researcher and faculty will provide authentic role models for future career paths. Participation in PROMISE will be life-changing for our cohort, as students will have experienced the critical importance of modern cancer research to saving the lives of individuals, a perspective that will inspire them to pursue cancer research careers and sustain them during their advanced training years.
Effective start/end date9/1/228/31/24


  • National Cancer Institute: $318,317.00
  • National Cancer Institute: $318,317.00


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