MARC U*STAR Scholars Program

The MARC U*STAR Scholars Program at the University of West Florida (UWF) is a grant-funded training program sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH). This program supports talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who plan to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD and a research career in physics, biological sciences or chemical sciences and who have a demonstrated interest in diversification of the research workforce.

Program Overview

As the preeminent undergraduate research opportunity, the MARC U*STAR Scholars Program supports full-time juniors and seniors who intend to pursue a Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D.  The program is not intended to support students who plan to pursue an MD only.

The MARC U*STAR Scholars Program models the Chemistry Scholars Program's key components with additional emphasis given to the development of biology, chemistry or physics research talent. If funding continues from NIGMS/NIH and Scholars remain eligible for the program, their appointment will be renewed for a second year of undergraduate study. Scholars are limited to two years of support

Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA each semester to remain eligible for participation in the program. Guided by the MARC Scholarship Program staff, each Scholar must meet all requirements for program activities,  course work, and various group meetings. Each Scholar will complete a sustained research project with a faculty researcher. Research begins the summer prior to the Scholar's junior year and continues during the following two academic years.  Scholars are required to participate in off-campus research during the summer between their junior and senior years. Scholars must successfully complete a Research Conduct and Ethics course and a three-credit scientific writing course.

Recruitment targets highly capable sophomores from UWF and eligible students who have transferred or plan to transfer to UWF from community colleges and other higher education institutions. Members of the MARC U*STAR Selection Committee will review eligible applications to select students for interviews. After completing interviews, members of this committee will make the final selection of Scholars and decisions about renewal or dismissal of Scholars.  Applications are available at the beginning of each spring semester.

Pre-MARC U*STAR Program

The Pre-MARC U*STAR Program has been created specifically for undergraduate students in the sciences that are interested in becoming candidates for the research-intensive MARC U*STAR Scholars program at UWF.   This program is designed for those who are interested in learning more about or intend to pursue research careers in the biomedical sciences via a PhD or MD/PhD after graduating from UWF.  Since the MARC U*STAR Scholars program is a competitive program, the Pre-MARC program prepares students (typically during their freshman and sophomore year) for application.  The Pre-MARC Program provides students with professional development opportunities, faculty mentors, peer mentors—who are junior and senior MARC Scholars—and potential research opportunities under the guidance and supervision of a UWF STEM faculty member.

In order to be eligible for the Pre-MARC program, students must have a 3.0 or higher high school or college GPA, be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and complete an application and statement of interests.  Applications are accepted at the beginning of each Fall semester.

For more information, please contact:

Karen Sinclair Molek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry Department
Director, MARC U*STAR Scholars Program
Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering
Building 58, Room 004
(850) 474-2799

Staci Musmanno
Program Coordinator
MARC U*STAR Scholars
Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering
Building 58, Room 002
(850) 857-6244


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