April 26, 2019

Implementation and evaluation of a biotechnology research experience for African-American high school students

By Miguel Valdez Soto

Abstract Exposure to science content and development of excitement for scientific inquiry throughout the high school years are imperative in attracting students into the sciences. The purpose of this article is to report lessons learned and share best practices from the implementation and evaluation of a high school STEM program that aims to provide an authentic research experience for African-American students and expose them to the possibility and benefits of attaining advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields. Participants reported that enriching science experiences improved their college readiness and exposed them to STEM degree and career options. Formative evaluation results lead to the following lessons learned for best practice: 1) Relationships with high schools will facilitate buy-in; 2) Setting clear expectations and assigning responsibilities is essential; 3) Diversity and cultural sensitivity training is necessary; and 4) Programs of this nature need strong evaluation.

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