Center for the Advancement of Student in Academia


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The Center for the Advancement of Students in Academia promotes the academic development of the next generation of underrepresented research scientists and health professionals. To achieve this mission, CASA provides students with opportunities to participate in faculty research, faculty and student mentoring, course enrichment workshops, travel to scientific meetings, travel to doctoral degree-granting institutions for future graduate study, and research experience at NIH, other research institutions, and laboratories in foreign institutions.

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CASA Student Support Programs


The Advancing Diversity in Aging Program is an NIH-sponsored program designed to recruit disadvantaged and underrepresented SDSU students who are interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in the field of aging. The goal of the program is to prepare students to apply and be accepted into top-notch Ph.D. programs by providing hands-on research experience working in the laboratory of a faculty member, summer research experience, seminars with visiting scientists, graduate program application development and personal statement workshops, financial assistance for research and development, and travel funds to attend professional conferences. For more information, visit the website:


The Biomedical Exploratory Program - Pre-IMSD provides freshmen/sophomore students with opportunities to engage in biomedical/behavioral research, mentoring, and pre-graduate school resources. Funding is available to support students fall, spring and summer to gain hands-on research experience and prepare early for the Ph.D. track. For more information visit the website:


Students at Southwestern, Grossmont or Cuyamaca College interested in a career in science can learn to do research - and get paid while they are learning in the SDSU Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. If they are attending community college and intending to transfer to a four-year university such as SDSU, they can check with the Bridges program. It could be a bridge to a successful future! For more information visit the website:


The Graduate Access Program provides its students with general assistance in planning for graduate work leading to advanced degrees in the sciences, mathematics, and computer science. Each fall semester, the program offers a course, Biology 247, to provide support and assistance to students preparing applications to graduate school. For more information, contact Maureen Gibbins at


The Health Careers Opportunity Program provides training and support to participants to prepare to be competitive applicants for admission to medical school or a professional graduate health program. In addition to preparation for the MCAT, the program offers juniors and seniors an opportunity to participate in an 8-week summer research experience. A stipend is provided at the conclusion of the summer experience. For more information contact Melani Soto at


Students who want to be a physician, dentist, veterinarian, pharmacist, physician assistant, optometrist, podiatrist, or chiropractor will need a plan and letters of recommendation. They can come to the Health Professions Advising Office in GMCS 323 to sign up for a health professions information session and to open a file as soon as they think they may want to pursue one of these fields. They will find information, guidance and support as well as a variety of clubs and activities to make them stronger candidate. For more information visit the website:


Remember what it was like to be the newest or youngest member of a group or at a school? Wouldn't it have been nice to have an experienced fellow student and a faculty member knowledgeable about the facilities and activities on campus serve as "mentors"? This is what the weekly Introduction to Campus Activities and Networking Program at SDSU offers. For more information visit the website:


The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program is a year-round mentoring program to prepare upper division undergraduates for direct entry into biomedical science Ph.D. programs. Scholars earn annual salaries to conduct SDSU faculty mentored research, travel funds to present scientific findings, and lab funds to advance their independent research. Scholars also benefit from faculty/staff peer mentoring, as well as participate in year-round activities to improve their communication skills, expand their scientific network, prepare graduate applications, and increase their overall competitiveness for Ph.D. program acceptance. For more information visit the website:


The Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award is an NIH/NIGMS-sponsored program designed to provide three years of mentored, post-doctoral research in biomedical sciences and teacher training. IRACDA aims to promote links between UCSD and SDSU that lead to further collaborations in faculty research and student training and especially to promote the advancement of underrepresented minorities. For more information visit the


The Keck Training Program is a summer program for incoming freshmen, sophomore and community college transfer students that provides them with the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields with a focus on the central topic of Global Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Disease. It provides students with hands-on training in environmental sampling and field work, laboratory methods in microbiology and molecular genetics, computer simulation and mathematical modeling, coupled with workshops on research skills, scientific writing, and responsible conduct of research. The program focuses on developing critical, quantitative thinking and teamwork, and will prepare students to do undergraduate or graduate research in a variety of related fields. For more information see the website:


If students would like to review their math, prepare for calculus and get paid for it, and are interested in getting involved in STEM research this is what the CSU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program offers. The goal is to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and encourage more students to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields. The program includes academic advising, scholarships, book loans, GRE Prep and research participation stipends. For more information contact Thelma Chavez at


The mission of the Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research is to provide support for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral sciences, and engineering and to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training at the Ph.D. level. The MARC program provides funding for year-round research experiences here and at other institutions, opportunities to present their research at local and national conferences. Most importantly, the MARC program assists in their development as they become competitive Ph.D. applicants. For more information visit the website


The Minority Health Disparities International Research Training Program is an NIH supported program designed to increase the number of underrepresented students who will matriculate into graduate school by sending students to various international research sites. Students are selected based on an application and letter of recommendation. For more information contact Dena Plemmons at


MESA - The SDSU Mathematics Engineering Sciences Achievement program provides academic support, "out of classroom" experiences and industry and alumni engagement, which help students succeed academically and develop professionally to achieve career goals. MESA students engage in "high impact" experiences, such as undergraduate research, first year seminar, learning communities and leadership development. The goal of the program is to enhance student engagement and graduate diverse students in the STEM fields. This program is a post-secondary component of MESA California. For more information visit the website


The Pre-Maximizing Access to Research Careers is an enrichment program open to freshman and sophomore students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The goal of the program is to introduce student to research, mentoring, and give them an opportunity to participate in an intensive 6-week Summer Enrichment Program that will introduce them to courses in writing, math, chemistry and research design. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on research laboratory research experience. For more information visit the website


Students interested in pursuing a career in stem cell research can earn $2,500/month. Through the Stem Cell Internship Program they will develop expertise in laboratory techniques needed to work in the field of regenerative medicine. They will be able to carry out their own research at places like Scripps or Sanford/Burnham Research Institute. The program includes a stem cell laboratory techniques course, a full-time internship and several opportunities to present their research. The program is open to senior level undergraduates and first year MS students pursuing a degree in biology, biochemistry, microbiology or other related natural sciences. For more information visit the website


This National Science Foundation scholarship provides funding to graduate students who are interested in pursuing a master's of science degree in Biomedical Informatics (BMI) with a focus in statistics. The BMI graduate program is offered through BMIRC and provides concentrations in Bioinformatics, Cheminformatics, Public Health informatics, and Medical Informatics. Underrepresented students in the sciences such as women, Latino-Americans, and those with lower-income are encouraged to apply.

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