The Benefits of Attending the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS): The Role of Research Confidence

CBE Life Sci Educ. 2016 fall;15(3):ar46. doi: 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0048.


The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) is designed to support undergraduate students' professional development as future scientists. Juniors, seniors, and postbaccalaureates who attended ABRCMS during 2008-2011 were emailed a link to an online questionnaire in which they reported their experiences at the conference. Attendees reported many ABRCMS-provided benefits. Frequency of attending or presenting at ABRCMS is positively related to science self-efficacy, research confidence, sense of belonging in science, and intentions to pursue a research degree in graduate school. Increased research confidence predicts graduate school plans and intentions for a research career in science; however, men were slightly more likely to intend to pursue a research career than women, likely due to higher research confidence. Although all attendees benefited from ABRCMS, underrepresented minority (URM) students had higher science self-efficacy and sense of belonging in science after attending ABRCMS than non-URM students. This finding demonstrates the effectiveness of ABRCMS as an intervention to increase the representation and success of URMs in science. Results highlight the importance of attending a minority-oriented research conference where URMs can develop their science self-efficacy, research confidence, and sense of belonging in science. However, changes to the conference and undergraduate research experiences may be necessary to reduce gender gaps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Awards and Prizes
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Career Choice
  • Congresses as Topic*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities