In this study, Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) is used to explore changes in the career intentions of students in an undergraduate research experience (URE) program at a large public minority-serving college. Our URE model addresses the challenges of establishing an undergraduate research program within an urban, commuter, underfunded, Minority-Serving Institution (MSI). However, our model reaches beyond a focus on retention and remediation toward scholarly contributions and shifted career aspirations. From a student’s first days at the College to beyond their graduation, we have encouraged them to explore their own potential as scientists in a coordinated, sequential, and self-reflective process. As a result, while the program’s graduates have traditionally pursued entry-level STEM jobs, graduates participating in mentored research are increasingly focused on professional and academic STEM career tracks involving post-graduate study. In addition to providing an increasingly expected experience and building students’ skills, participation in undergraduate research is seen to have a transformative effect on career ambitions for many students at MSIs. While undergraduate research is often thought of in context of majority-serving institutions, we propose that it serves as a powerful equalizer at MSIs. Building on the institutional characteristics that drive diversity, our students produce scholarly work and pursue graduate degrees, in order to address the long-standing under-representation of minorities in the sciences.