A group of Houston high schoolers aren't taking a break this summer. Instead, they are researching the human body thanks to a new program from the University of Houston.
The STEM Research Inquiry Summer Experience was launched to encourage future STEM leaders and combat the underrepresentation of people of color working in science, technology, engineering and math. Students from Jack Yates High School in Houston's Third Ward are researching hypertension, breast cancer, the spleen, and more during the summer program, according to a news release.
“STEM RISE was inspired by the goal to broaden participation in STEM teaching and learning, and to inspire students from our neighborhood community of Third Ward to envision themselves with futures at UH and ultimately in promising STEM careers,” says Mariam Manuel, director of STEM RISE student success, in the release.
UH students from across STEM fields and departments — science, math, medical, etc. — serve as mentors for the program, which received funding from the National Science Foundation.
“This unique opportunity also gives the young visitors a glimpse into college life,” says Jacqueline Ekeoba, director of STEM RISE instruction, in the release.
In collaboration with UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, teachHOUSTON, the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine, and Jack Yates High School, the program provides the students with hands-on experience and access to research equipment and lab space.
“Creating safe and supportive learning experiences for the next generation of scientists and doctors is crucial for ensuring diversity in science and medicine," says Thomas Thesen, director of STEM RISE research experience and associate professor of neuroscience at the Fertitta Family College of Medicine. "Not only is this a valuable experience for our high school participants, but our UH students receive training in culturally responsive pedagogy by acting as near-peer mentors."
From left to right, the UH STEM RISE team includes Jacqueline Ekeoba, Mariam Manuel, and Thomas Thesen. Photo via UH.edu