The primary theme of our grant is to promote broad science literacy by encouraging an interest in science at the precollege level and helping students at the college level to experience the excitement of research and to consider research as a career. Based on the success of our previous HHMI undergraduate science education awards, we have designed the following strategies to achieve this objective.

Outreach to Middle and High School Students
Continue a four-week, lab-intensive summer workshop for middle and high school teachers where new and established teachers work together, develop lesson plans for use with equipment we purchase for their schools, and visit Hunter College (HC) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) with their students. Responses to questionnaires indicate increased student interest in science. Add a two-week Summer Institute on Biodiversity and Evolution at the AMNH to enrich what is taught in the ninth-grade living environment. Add one day at the AMNH to prepare teachers to integrate the AMNH trip into their class. We will give priority to New Visions Public Schools teachers, since assessment will entail working with New Visions so we can measure whether more of these students are going on to careers in science when compared with a control group of nonparticipants.

Manhattan Hunter Science High School (MHSHS) 10th graders will go through the HC Research Techniques Facility (RTF), 10 students in the fall and 10 students in the spring. Five from the two groups will spend the summer as interns in an HC research lab, and two will be selected to spend a second summer as research interns.

We will create a biotechnology track at MHSHS starting with 10th graders. By the 12th grade, these students will be ready to take General Biology at HC. As HC freshmen, they will take biology major core courses and receive a BA/MA in biology with a concentration in biotechnology in four years. A doctoral lecturer will be hired by HC to teach at MHSHS and HC. This is a potential model to increase the number of students pursuing degrees in biology and biotechnology by engaging them while they are in high school. We expect to see a greater percentage of these students enter careers as research technicians compared to their nonparticipant peers, or continue to Ph.D.s, M.D.s, or M.D./Ph.D.s. Assessment will involve tracking graduate programs they choose and careers they enter. Records are kept for all MHSHS students, enabling us to compare participants with nonparticipants.

Engaging Undergraduates in Research
The HC/HHMI Undergraduate Scholars (Scholars) program will continue. Scholars will spend their junior and senior years working 20 hours per week in a research lab. Assessment will include publications, conference posters, mentor evaluations, their ability to discuss their research at biweekly meetings with the program director, and postgraduation plans. We will start a pilot program adding two sophomores in Year 2, who will receive similar funding, choose a research mentor, and undertake a research project. We want students to begin research early to see if they succeed in research and coursework. Success in the pilot program will make them Scholars in their junior year. The Scholars program provides in-depth research experiences to undergraduates. We expect the Scholars to enter Ph.D., M.D., or M.D./Ph.D. programs.

We will continue summer research opportunities for undergraduates in labs at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Assessment will include evaluation of their work by their summer mentor, continuation of research at HC, publications, conference presentations, the SURE survey, and postgraduation plans.

We will continue the RTF for MHSHS students as a credit-bearing course, continue to provide our undergraduates and summer workshop teachers with this resource, and continue to disseminate RTF materials to other institutions online.

For More Information

Shirley Raps, PhD
City University of New York Hunter College
Department of Biological Sciences
Room 927 Hunter North 695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021-5085


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