Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement: RISE TO THE POSTDOCTORATE:

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) to the Post Doc
New Mexico
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus


RISE to the Postdoctorate Program works to diversify the health scientist research community by furthering the PhD degree completion of students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical and biobehavioral fields. Increasing the number of URM PhD recipients in STEM disciplines ensures the broadest possible talent and perspectives can contribute to the task of finding treatments for diseases and disorders that affect human health, such as those associated with health disparities between populations.

Program Description

RISE MS and PhD students are prepared for the next career step through mentored research experiences; professional development activities; formal courses; scientific workshops that develop cutting edge quantitative and technical skills; an off-site research training internship experience; formal education in responsible conduct in research; and, guided expansion of their research social network. Student self- efficacy and career independence are promoted through individualized development plans, professional portfolios, and submission of applications for fellowships and other independent support. Clear communication of program expectations for mentors and students, structured benchmarks, and regular progress review with feedback keep students on track to degree completion. Assessment and evaluation of program practices and outcomes ensure continual refinement of programmatic elements


Over 18 years, RISE has supported 59 NMSU STEM PhD students (36 Latino/54 URM). As of December 2017:

  • 28 NMSU Latino students (44 URM) have earned a PhD and 6 Latino students (10 URM/ 13 total) are enrolled in NMSU PhD programs.
  • RISE also supported 56 STEM MS students (44 Latino/49 URM)
  • Thirty-six Latino NMSU MS students (41 URM) earned a degree with RISE support.  
  • Nine RISE MS students (8 Latino) continued to earn a PhD at another institution, 3 earned a health doctorate (3 Latino), and 4 (3 Latino) are enrolled in STEM PhD programs.
  • Program retention of 97% PhD completion (2 withdrawals) and 84% MS degree completion (3 transfer, 6 withdrawals) compares favorably with national estimates of 70% for all ethnicities.
  • Moreover, 8 of the 28 RISE Latino NMSU PhDs hold faculty positions, a number that exceeds national estimates of 20% PhDs in STEM faculty jobs.
  • RISE has exceeded goals of 90% PhD and 75% MS Latino/URM STEM degree completion, and 87% of RISE PhDs are retained in STEM careers.
  • RISE has furthered achievement of STEM PhD completion by 36 Latino (53 URM students), with another 10 Latino PhD (14 URM) in the pipeline.