U-RISE Application 

Undergraduate Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (U-RISE)

The goal of the Undergraduate Research Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) program is to develop a diverse pool of undergraduates who complete their baccalaureate degree, and transition into and complete biomedical, research-focused higher degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.). Training grants offset the cost of stipends, tuition and fees, and training related expenses, including health insurance, for the appointed trainees in accordance with the approved NIH support levels. Training grants are usually awarded for five years and are renewable.
About U-RISE at Claflin University

The U-RISE Program at Claflin University was established in 2015 and provides academic and summer research experiences, both on campus and at partnering research intensive environments representing academia, industry, and government.

Students have conducted external summer research at the following institutions:

Yale University – New Haven, CT

Washington University – St. Louis, MO

Howard University – Washington, D.C.

University of South Carolina- Columbia, SC

Medical University of South Carolina – Charleston, SC

Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, NC

Brown University – Providence, RI

University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

University of Alabama Birmingham – Birmingham, AL

Claflin University

Claflin University continues to be recognized as a top-ranked liberal arts college by Washington Monthly. In its 2015 “Best Liberal Arts Colleges” edition, Claflin was ranked as number one liberal arts college in South Carolina and the top Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in the nation. The ranking is based on social mobility –recruiting and graduating low-income students; research – the institution’s ability to produce cutting-edge research; and service – encouraging students to give back to their community. Claflin was named the 2015 AARP/HBCU Digest HBCU of the Year. The HBCU Digest also named Claflin University as the International Alumni Association of the Year.

Claflin was ranked #1 in alumni giving among HBCU’s by U.S. News and World Report. For the seventh year, Forbes.com ranked Claflin University one of the top colleges in the United States based on student satisfactions, post-graduate success, graduation rate, and academic success.

Purpose of U-RISE at Claflin University

U-RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) at Claflin University (CU) consists of interdisciplinary research conducted by Junior and Senior RISE Participants, under the supervision of over 12 researchers at Claflin in collaboration with research institutions, prepare to enter and complete graduate PhD programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences. RISE at CU is conducted in various research programs in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering) and the School of Humanities (Geography, Psychology, Sociology, etc.). Community-based participatory public health research addresses health disparities using Geographic Information Systems and behavioral science models in collaboration with the School of Humanities and the campus-wide Public Health Student Alliance.

Claflin Rise – 2020-2021 Scholars

Jasmine McKenzie – Senior
Major – Computer Science     Minor – Psychology

I am working on an interactive and educational interface that will teach people about their individual risk factors of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It will provide facts about risk factors like smoking, drinking, specific health issues, and other things. It will also ask questions to determine the likeliness of developing the disease and provide recommendations for decreasing their chances. I will then study the effectiveness, usability, and accessibility of the interface by using a Heuristic evaluation and an accessibility checker.  

This summer I will be interning at the Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory in their cybersecurity department. I have been accepted into the computer science Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama and the human-centered computed Ph.D. program at the University of Florida. Both schools have offered me fellowships that would fully fund my research and cost of tuition and teaching assistantships. I am accepting the offer to the University of Florida. 

London Thompson, Senior
Major – Computer Engineering


Diabetic Risk Simulator

The system I am currently working on will help users to recognize the impact certain foods have on their body, and inform them on possible substitutes for poor food choices. We hope that the development of the system will help to influence healthier eating in our user’s lives. Forming a habit of clean eating will help keep blood sugar levels regulated, and greatly decreases a person’s chances of getting diabetes. This system will support overall health management and be accessible to any patient wanting to identify their risks concerning food intake. This will help to prevent a patient from going down a path of eating that can lead to diabetes. If a patient has already been negatively impacted, we want the system to provide them with foods that will be able to assist them in living a healthier lifestyle that will be beneficial to them.

I have been offered a Teaching Assistantship by the University of Florida, to pursue my PhD in Computer Science. I’m currently waiting to hear back from other schools but as of now, Gainesville is looking like a real possibility for me in the near future.

London’s research has also been published – Privacy and Security for TeleHealth Devices

Mentor – Karina Liles, PhD 
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Below:  Dr. Lillianne Harris Wright is a RISE Alum from Clarke Atlanta and is one of the RISE mentors who completed her doctoral studies at a cancer research center.  View her video clip.


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