Transitions and Research Across INterfaceS
What is TRAINS?
Transitions and Research Across INterfaceS (TRAINS) is a multi-institution collaboration between Rio Hondo College (RHC), the University of Southern California (USC), and the University of California Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (UCSB-CSEP) dedicated to increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minority students from the community college in physics and engineering through conducting research in the biological physical sciences.
TRAINS is funded by the National Science Foundation's Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM: Hispanic Serving Institutions Program (Award #2150298).
Pictured above: Polyelectrolyte brushes that sterically stabilize biological surfaces. One of the many types of phenomena being studied by TRAINS scientists.
Why should you (the community college student) join TRAINS?
TRAINS helps student scientists acquire degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) . STEM bachelor's degrees are high paying, leading to average annual wages of $37,000+/year at the entry level and an average of $65,000+/year over the course of a recipient’s career, and are among the highest compensated degrees in the US economy.* These amounts are augmented substantially with a graduate degree in said fields.
TRAINS student scientists will conduct paid research ($10k per student, to be paid throughout the 15-month program) in the cutting-edge fields of biophysics and biological engineering under faculty mentors at USC, allowing them access to aforementioned high-paying jobs in the fields. TRAINS students will also be expected to travel to a scientific conference to present their work (with travel expenses covered by the TRAINS program).
TRAINS student scientists will have their own graduate student/post-doctoral mentors at USC dedicated to advancing their STEM careers.
TRAINS is intended to assist community college students transfer to highly competitive baccalaureate-granting institutions by providing them access to courses and research opportunities normally not found at the community college and is meant for students approximately 1 year from transferring to a four-year institution in a STEM degree program.
TRAINS student scientists will work with one of the nine faculty members at USC who are listed on the About Us page.
*Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce: The Economic Value of College Majors, A. Carnevale & B. Cheah, 2015
Rio Hondo College
Rio Hondo College (RHC) is a community college in Whittier, CA serving a primarily Hispanic student population in East Los Angeles County. TRAINS students take biophysics courses at RHC and receive STEM career guidance at this location.
The University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the world’s leading private research universities in Los Angeles, CA. USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for TRAINS students to conduct cutting-edge research in the interdisciplinary field of biological physical science throughout a 15-month research experience.
University of California, Santa Barbara - Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships
The UCSB Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (UCSB-CSEP), located in Santa Barbara, CA. UCSB-CSEP's activities include efforts to increase participation and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. UCSB-CSEP provides the educational research and program evaluation for the TRAINS program.
Story Behind the TRAINS Logo
As a nod to National Science Foundation's Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM: Hispanic Serving Institutions Program, the TRAINS logo is based on the Mesoamerican step-pyramid or castillo (castle in spanish), one of the most important sites in pre-colonial Mesoamerican cultures along with a double-entendre with our programs acronym, with the allusion to train tracks.
Our logo encapsulates our vision for our students reaching the top of the temple of knowledge with the assistance of their mentors, helping to ferry them up along the TRAIN(S) tracks.
Students, please note however, that even though our programs iconography evokes images of Central and South American cultures, students from all backgrounds are welcome into the TRAINS program.