The Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) is a student development program for minority-serving institutions granted by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R25GM082406). Its main purpose is to increase the number of students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical/behavioral sciences that complete PhD degrees, advance to competitive postdoctoral positions, and enter productive research careers.

The RISE Program at Ponce Health Science University has specific measurable objectives that aim to provide trainees with continuing and enhanced:

1. Hands-on professional development and research skills training
2. Communication skills training
3. Team building/networking opportunities


RISE eligibility criteria:

  • US citizens or permanent residents
  • Enrolled full-time in the PHSU Biomedical Sciences PhD program.

Application deadline to Ph.D. program is April 15. Application forms are available in the PHSU admissions office or online at:

 Students accepted to the Ph.D. program will be considered for appointment in the RISE program. RISE admission decisions will be made after students have been officially accepted into the PhD program.   

Criteria for incoming PhD students:

 Undergraduate GPA and coursework, GRE score, research experience, post-bachelor’s coursework, presentations/publications, interview, and writing sample.

Criteria for current students in the PhD program:

 Graduate GPA, progress towards PhD (presentations/publications, fellowship applications, research proposal), and letters of recommendation.


To improve their performance, participation and success in the Ph.D./RISE Program, selected trainees receive the following benefits:

Financial support

Salary of $23,000 per year, paid tuition, and annual funds for lab supplies.

Networking opportunities

  • Paid travel to attend one domestic, scientific conference per year.
  • Participation in: biomedical seminars, lunch with the speaker, regional scientific conferences.


A structured mentoring team comprised of a faculty advisor, a research mentor and a student peer mentor to provide advice, support and guidance as needed.

 Professional development 

  • Continuous and enhanced “hands-on” professional and research training in multiple topics related to career development and technical skills.
  • Advanced instruction in communication and writing
  • Participation in annual Philosophy of Science retreat and other developmental workshops.

Program Evaluator

Erika Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D.         University of Texas

Program Coordinator
Jean Marie Schmidt


Contact Us

For program inquiries, please email , or contact:

  • Caroline Appleyard

RISE Program Director
Office: Research # 105
Tel:  (787) 840-2575, ext.2165 (office) 2171/2168 (lab)

  • James Porter

RISE Associate Program Director
Office: Research Building # 218
Tel: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2251, (787) 844-3620

  • Jean Marie Schmidt, M.Ed.

Program Coordinator, PHSU RISE Graduate
Office: Research Building # 223
Tel: (787) 284-2038

Mailing address
Ponce School of Medicine
PO Box 7004
Ponce, PR 00732

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