Expert View

Implementation of a Biomedical Engineering Research Experience for African–American High School Students at a Tier One Research University

[+] Author and Article Information
Cherie M. Avent

Department of Educational
Research Methodology,
University of North Carolina Greensboro,
1300 Spring Garden Street,
Greensboro, NC 27412
e-mail: cmavent@uncg.edu

Ayesha S. Boyce

Department of Educational
Research Methodology,
University of North Carolina Greensboro,
1300 Spring Garden Street,
Greensboro, NC 27412
e-mail: ayesha.boyce@uncg.edu

Lakeita D. Servance

Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
315 Ferst Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: lakeita.servance@ibb.gatech.edu

Lizanne A. DeStefano

Center for Education Integrating Science,
Mathematics and Computing,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
817 W. Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 300,
Atlanta, GA 30308
e-mail: lizanne.destefano@ceismc.gatech.edu

Robert M. Nerem

Fellow ASME
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
315 Ferst Drive, NW,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: robert.nerem@ibb.gatech.edu

Manu O. Platt

Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology and
Emory University,
950 Atlantic Dr. Suite 3015,
Atlanta, GA 30332
e-mail: manu.platt@bme.gatech.edu

1Corresponding authors.

Manuscript received February 13, 2018; final manuscript received May 13, 2018; published online June 15, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Kristen Billiar.

J Biomech Eng 140(8), 084701 (Jun 15, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-18-1088; doi: 10.1115/1.4040310 History: Received February 13, 2018; Revised May 13, 2018

Enriching science experiences and competencies for underrepresented students during high school years is crucial to increasing their entry into the science pipeline and to improving their preparedness for success in college and STEM careers. The purpose of this paper is to describe the implementation of project ENGAGES, a high school STEM year-long research program for African–American students, mentored by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at Georgia Tech. It aims to provide an authentic research experience and expose student to the possibility and benefits of attaining an advanced degree and careers in STEM fields. Initial program outcomes include student reported satisfaction with research experience, improved technical skill development, and increased curiosity and interest in STEM careers. Additionally, students indicated increases in college readiness, research skill development, and exposure to STEM careers as a result of interactions with faculty advisors and graduate student mentors, along with laboratory assignments. Lessons learned and potential pitfalls and barriers to acceptance are also discussed.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Summer timeline of project ENGAGES from applicant panel interviews through to final summer presentations. Panel interviews occur in April after online applications were reviewed, then selected students begin boot camp for the first 4 weeks. In the middle of bootcamp, scholars and mentors participate in a speed dating exercise to determine fit followed by a mentor matching ceremony. ENGAGES scholars work on research projects and develop both oral and poster presentations for the end of summer symposium.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Level of satisfaction (mean) reported by scholars for project ENGAGES activities (N = 29). Overall experience, networking opportunities, graduate student mentor interactions, faculty advisor interactions, research project, the GT campus, professional development, social outings, orientation, pay rate, and other project ENGAGES participant interactions on your campus (OPEPI).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Average scholar self-rating of pre-and-post research development skills. Self-assessment ratings by scholars of their own skills before entering and exiting the summer portion of project ENGAGES. Ratings range from 1 (very weak knowledge or skill) to 5 (very strong knowledge or skill). *, p < 0.05, postscore compared to pre-score.



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