Williams Science Center

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement ("RISE")

RISE is a student-development program funded by the Training, Workforce Development & Diversity (TWD) Division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

Program Goals, Outcomes, Strategies

bullet point The core goals of the CSU-RISE Program are to increase the number of underrepresented (UR) science undergraduate students continuing their education on to biomedical graduate programs and also to ensure the quality of their preparation.

bullet point The measurable outcomes are to increase the graduation rates of participants above those of their peers in the targeted departments, ensure that at least 80% will complete the baccalaureate degree in their major, and to achieve a minimum of 50% matriculation of program alumni to Ph.D. programs at research-intensive universities within 3 years of their graduation.

bullet point The core Program strategies to prepare students for careers in biomedical research are to: (i) provide opportunities to increase student awareness of, and interest in, careers in biomedical research; (ii) provide students entering the program with the skill-sets necessary to undertake research; (iii) provide each RISE trainee with a hands-on actual research experiences with a faculty mentor during the academic semesters and summer, and encourage a subsequent summer at a research-intensive university (iv) develop a faculty training program that emphasizes  good mentoring to enhance the benefits trainees obtain from their research experiences; (v) offer opportunities that ensure that each RISE participant is an author or co-author of at least one research presentation at both a regional and national research conference; (vi) assist trainees to develop competitive graduate-school applications, and (vii) provide the overall support for the development of a community of research scholars in the participating departments.

bullet point To give trainees a clear idea of the path and milestones for completing their undergraduate programs, and also focus them better on components necessary for the timely transition to graduate school, we employ an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for each student.   An IDP is established for each trainee as he/she enters the RISE program during the TILT research skills workshop.  It is then periodically updated as the trainee progresses through each subsequent stage of the Program through graduation. 

The CSU RISE Program Plan

To achieve the program goals RISE students participate in activities at all levels of their undergraduate development to enhance their research expertise and competitiveness for graduate-level studies. Click here for a graphical overview of the CSU RISE  Program Model.

RISE scholars participate in a series of hierarchical student-development strategies:

bullet point  TILT - hands-on training workshop in interdisciplinary biomedical laboratory techniques emphasizing advanced instrumentation.  Typically, students participate in this workshop in the summer after their freshman or sophomore year.  It introduces them to the interdisciplinary nature of research and is not part of the traditional degree curriculum.  TILT is generally the entry point for student participation in the CSU RISE program. 

bullet point ASPIRE - campus and off-campus student  research experiences which include both academic year and summer internships.  After successful completion of the TILT techniques workshop, students get actual research experiences working on faculty-led projects during the fall and spring semesters. For a listing of current faculty with active biomedical research labs, click here. Students have opportunities to present their research at regional or national research conferences. All travel costs to attend these are covered by the RISE Program.

While RISE trainees may continue their academic year research in their "home" lab during the summer, they are strongly encouraged to apply for a paid internship  away at a research-intensive university. A listing of these opportunities may be found on the RISE summer internship bulletin board webpage.

bullet point CURA - at the next level of their development, students who have completed TILT and have worked in a faculty research laboratory for at least one semester are be eligible to apply for a competitive undergraduate research award (“CURA”) to cover the cost of research supplies for the following summer or academic year.  The program will award grants of up to $1,000 to students for the purchase of non-standard laboratory supplies and equipment necessary to complete a specific research project.

bullet point  CSU STEM LA Program - To give them an experience of  being a teaching assistant (TA) in graduate school, CSU RISE trainees are encouraged to participate in the  CSU STEM LA Program.  TA's learn about modern, innovative instruction and then assist faculty in their courses to facilitate collaborative learning and help their peer students develop deep understanding of the material.   

bullet point  GRASP - the capstone project which guides students through the graduate school application process. Workshops are offered on the preparation of the GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION PACKAGE and include the PERSONAL STATEMENT and GENERAL GRE TEST.

Student Benefits:

bullet point  Opportunities to engage in university-level research.

bullet point Paid research internships at CSU during the Fall and Spring semesters and in the Summers.

bullet point Paid summer research internships off-campus at research universities and national labs*.

bullet point Travel to regional and national scientific conferences to present research results and network with scientists in your field.

bullet point The opportunity to develop your own research project, and grants of up to $1,000 for the purchase of non-standard laboratory supplies and equipment necessary to complete that project.

bullet point Learn research and teaching skills that will help you succeed in graduate school.

bullet point Assistance with GRE exams and graduate-school applications.

bullet point One-on-one mentoring from the student's research professor and RISE Program staff through the Individual Development Plan to ensure both timely graduation and seamless matriculation to graduate school.

* For a comprehensive listing of available summer research internships, go to the RISE summer internship bulletin board webpage.

 Progress Toward Achieving Program Goals:

Since the original funding of the CSU RISE Program in 1999, more than 50 students have been admitted to Ph.D. programs in biology, chemistry and physics. Of these 22 have already been awarded the PhD degree and join 11 alumni of the  MBRS predecessor program. More than 200 RISE students have graduated with B.S. degrees in biology, chemistry or physics.  Many of those who have not gone on to academic graduate programs have gone on to professional doctoral programs (pharmacy, medicine) or obtained employment in scientific and health profession areas both in the public sector (hospitals and medical laboratories) and in private industry (pharmaceutical companies). Participation in RISE research projects is equated by many employers to job experience and gives CSU graduates a competitive advantage in the job market.

bullet point The measurable goal of the CSU RISE Program is to increase the numbers of graduates who successfully make the transition to biomedical Ph.D. programs.  To view how we are doing in achieving this goal, click here.

bullet point For a list of RISE alumni who were successful in being admitted to Ph.D. programs since the 1999 start of the program, click here.

bullet point  Thirty-three (33) alumni (RISE and its predecessor MBRS program) have been awarded Ph.D. degrees in biomedical disciplines, click here for a current list.


bullet point  For answers to frequently-asked student questions about the Chicago State University RISE program, click here.

bullet point For more information about the CSU RISE Program, please contact: 

Dr. Devi Potluri or Dr. Warren Sherman

Williams Science Center, Room SCI-222

Chicago State University

9501 S. King Drive

Chicago, IL 60628-1598

bullet point Phone inquiries (which leave voice messages) at   (773) 995-2322 or  (773) 995-2279.

Faxes at (773) 995-2169.

E-mail to wsherman@csu.edu

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Program Personnel

Dr Devi Potluri Dr Warren Sherman

Devi Potluri, Ph.D.

CSU RISE Program Director

Biological Sciences

Warren Sherman,Ph.D.

CSU NIGMS Programs Coordinator

& Professor of Chemistry

*The CSU RISE Program is funded by  NIH/NIGMS grant R25 GM59218.

The NIGMS logoNIH logo

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