Enhancing Science Literacy and Research Opportunities for Pre-College and College Students
Hunter College, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation's largest urban university. With approximately 16,000 undergraduates, Hunter has one of the most diverse student communities. For the past twenty years, Hunter's STEM philosophy has centered on increasing exposure and participation, both in the laboratory and in the classroom, of students underrepresented in the sciences. Our efforts to engage students in laboratory research is coordinated through SciMON (http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/scimon), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored initiative designed to enhance the research and mentoring programs available to students who study science and mathematics at Hunter College. Along with twelve other STEM programs (Hunter College STEM Programs (Acrobat (PDF) 481kB Feb1 16),http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/scimon/programs/list), HHMI-USE has been enhancing research opportunities both on campus (Undergraduate Scholars Program) and extra-murally (Cold Spring Harbor and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole). Students interested in pursuing research through one of these programs learn basic laboratory techniques in the Research Techniques Facility (RTF).
In addition to laboratory experiences, the HHMI-USE program has spearheaded curricular changes leading to the development of numerous interdisciplinary programs of study. This includes bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, and behavioral neuroscience. In addition, a science Policy track has been established in the public policy minor at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College (refer to Pathways to Institutional Change section).
In order to increase the persistence of all students in STEM, we have focused on middle school and high school, where large numbers of students lose their initial interest in STEM. To combat this, we train middle school and high school teachers in a lab-intensive, summer molecular biology/biotechnology education workshop. These teachers learn the theory and techniques behind molecular biology, and develop lesson plans that they take back to their schools with equipment and supplies provided by us for use with their students. These same high school and middle school teachers bring their students on two Science Friday field trips during the school year, one to Hunter College, and another to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). In addition, some of these teachers participate in a two-week Teacher Renewal for Urban Science Teaching Summer Institute on Biodiversity and Evolution at the AMNH, which we subsidize. Finally, we have created a partnership with the Manhattan Hunter Science High School (MHSHS), which includes an afterschool RTF Workshop for tenth-graders, summer research internships in a Hunter College faculty laboratory, and a recently initiated MHSHS to Hunter College Accelerated Biotechnology BA/MA degree track.
Increasing Persistence of All Students in STEM
Developing Inquiry Skills
Fostering Interdisciplinary or Integrated Learning
Science Policy: Having established a science policy track in the public policy minor at Roosevelt House for undergraduates, the inaugural science policy public presentation, at Roosevelt House, took place on Nov. 9, 2015. The talk "The Role of Science in Advancing Diplomacy: Opportunities and Challenges" was given by Dr. E. William Colglazier, Senior Scholar, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Colglazier, a physicist by training, served as the Science and Technology Adviser to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, from 2011 to 2014. Prof. Steve Greenbaum, a physicist, introduced him and Prof. Shirley Raps (HHMI-USE PI and Director) was the moderator, asking questions and soliciting questions from the overflow audience after the talk. A number of students were present. A video of the presentation is available. (http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/dr-e-william-colglazier-the-role-of-science-in-advancing-diplomacy-opportunities-and-challenges/)
Pathways to Institutional Change
More about this themeThere have been many initiatives at CUNY Hunter College resulting from HHMI funding that have led to changes in the institution.
The work described here has been supported by funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate and Graduate Science Education Program under grant numbers 71197-534601, 71100-534602, 52005116, 52006287, and 52007535, grant number 1T36GM078001-01 from the NIH, and grant #HRD-0963626 from NSF.