I-RISE with U-RISE logo


The Detroit Mercy I-RISE with U-RISE Program, supported by the National Institutes of Health, will recruit and train a diverse group of undergraduate students who go on to pursue postgraduate education on their way to careers in biomedical sciences. We will do this by integrating research training, authentic research experiences and intensive student success initiatives through students' undergraduate careers. Detroit Mercy students will receive early introduction to and continued training in research practices, immersion in culturally responsive mentored research experiences and repeated interaction with and exposure to diverse scientific communities through activities such as research experiences, career panels and conferences.

Do you know a student who would thrive as part of I-RISE with U-RISE? Click here to refer them to the program!

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    Scholar Support

    Scholar Support

    • Tuition support for fall and winter semesters ($16,000 total per year) at Detroit Mercy (for up to three academic years) 
    • A generous stipend of $14,340 per year  
    • Support for summer research experiences ($3,500) when performing external research  
    • Faculty research mentor/preceptor  
    • Travel funds ($1000 per year) to attend and present research at approved scientific meetings  
    • Personalized academic advising and career advising support  
    • Required courses in Research Skills Development; Scientific Writing; and Research Ethics and Integrity  
    • Peer mentoring, seminars, and various activities  
    • Assistance and guidance in applying to graduate school  

    Note: Student payments and other benefits from participating in this program may have income tax obligations. For more information, please consult a tax professional and/or the IRS. You may also wish to review IRS Publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education.  




    Students are eligible to apply to the I-RISE with U-RISE Program if they:  

    • Attend the University of Detroit Mercy as a full-time student in the fall term that they begin the I-RISE with U-RISE program
    • Are enrolled in a major related to the biomedical sciences (such as Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Biomedical Engineering)  
    • Have three years left in their degree program (preferred)
    • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)  
    • Plan to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in biomedical or behavioral research  
    • Demonstrate an interest in the diversification of the biomedical research workforce  
    • Are citizens or permanent residents of the United States  
    • Agree to fulfill all program requirements including a sustained research project with an approved preceptor from the University of Detroit Mercy or another approved local research facility throughout the academic year  

    You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident AND majoring in a STEM field AND meets any one of the following categories:  

    A. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data here and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering ). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vay from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged participate in NIH programs to enhance diversity. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. 
    B. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended . (See NSF data at https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/static/data/tab7-5.pdf )  
    C. Individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria: 
    1. Were, or currently are, homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Definition: https://nche.ed.gov/mckinney-vento/ );  
    2. Were, or currently are, in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families (Definition: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/foster-care );  
    3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years (Definition: https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/income-eligibility-guidelines );  
    4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (see https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018009.pdf );  
    5. Were, or currently are, eligible for Federal Pell grants (Definition: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/eligibility.html );  
    6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child (Definition: https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements ).  
    7. Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer ( https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health ), or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas  (qualifying zip codes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.  

    Program Details

    U-RISE program flow chart

    U-RISE university research partners

    U-RISE education pathways

    During the summer between junior and senior year, U-RISE scholars will join an external laboratory at a Research-Intensive Institution to gain experience in a laboratory environment with other undergraduates, Ph.D. students and postdocs (Ph.D. level scientists). This unique opportunity is invaluable to one’s development as a scientist and will immerse U-RISE scholars in a laboratory environment reflective of their potential future position(s). Scholar’s will receive up to an additional $3000 for offsite living expenses during this 10 week external research experience and up to a $500 travel allowance.  

    We have established connections with various regional Research-Intensive Universities to provide U-RISE scholars a number of programs in Chemistry, Biology, and Psychology to choose from. Our U-RISE Summer Research partners include: 



    Liz Roberts-Kirchoff headshotElizabeth S. Roberts-Kirchhoff, Ph.D. 
    Co-Program Director
    Assistant Dean for Academics 
    Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry 
    College of Engineering & Science
    Email: robkires@udmercy.edu

    Rachelle Belanger HeadshotRachelle M. Belanger, Ph.D.  
    Co-Program Director
    Professor and Assistant Chair  
    Department of Biology 
    College of Engineering & Science
    Email: belangra@udmercy.edu


    Kevin Constante headshotKevin Consante, Ph.D. 
    Research Data Analyst for I-RISE with U-RISE and ReBUILDetroit 
    College of Engineering and Science 
    Email: kconst@umich.edu 


    Kendra Evans HeadshotKendra R. Evans, Ph.D.
    Co-Program Director
    Associate Professor 
    Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry 
    College of Engineering & Science
    Email: evanskr@udmercy.edu

    Eric Krukones headshotEric Krukonis, Ph.D. 
    Co-Program Director
    Associate Professor 
    Assistant Director of Research 
    Division of Integrated Biomedical Sciences 
    School of Dentistry 
    Email: krukones@udmercy.edu


    Jahzara Mayes headshotJahzara D. E. Mayes, Ed.D.
    Grant Program Manager for I-RISE with U-RISE and ReBUILDetroit
    Assistant Director, Institutional Development Core, ReBUILDetroit
    College of Engineering & Science
    Email: otoojm@udmercy.edu


    Tommie Smith headshotTommie L. Smith, M.A. Director of Student Success for I-RISE with U-RISE and ReBUILDetroitCollege of Engineering and Science
    Email: smithtl8@udmercy.edu 



    Advisory Committee

    Christina Jones
    University of Michigan, DDS/Ph.D. Candidate
    UDM ReBUILDetroit Alumna

    Janice Gilliland, Ph.D.
    Dean Henry Ford College, School of STEM

    Joshua Thompson, Ph.D.
    University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentristry
    Associate Proffesor & Interim Director of Research Administration

    Kimberly D'Anna-Hernandez, Ph.D. 
    Marquette University
    Associate Professor of Psychology
    Director of the U-RISE Program

    Kirsten Abraham, Ph.D. 
    University Of Detroit Mercy
    Professor of Psychology 
    ReBUILDetroit Research Core

    Megan Conrad, Ph.D.
    University of Detroit Mercy
    Clare Boothe Luce Assistant
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    Rich Hill, Ph.D.
    University of Detroit Mercy
    Assistant Dean for Research & External Initiatives
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering

    Steven Thomas, M.S.
    Michigan State University
    Coordinator for Inclusive Strategic Partnerships 
    Program Director for AGEP & SROP

    Tracey Burke, Ph.D.
    University of Alaska, Anchorage
    Professor of Social Work
    Director of Biomed U-RISE