Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 08:50 a.m.

    I thought the project’s strategy of highlighting one student’s experience in some detail was very effective. Can the project share more about the selection criteria than what is included in the abstract? Also, has the project been able to follow up with students long-term to see how the experience continued to affect them?

  • Icon for: Jackie DeLisi

    Jackie DeLisi

    Research Scientist
    May 11, 2015 | 12:25 p.m.

    Regarding follow up after the program, during the final year of ITEST funding we were able to follow up with alumni of the SRMP program as well as alumni from another HS science course program. Survey results showed that SRMP alumni scored significantly higher than non- SRMP alumni in their intention to study science, and reported participation in college science majors and extracurricular activities at greater proportions than non-SRMP peers.
    There was also evidence that indicated that changes in SRMP students’ intention to study science and changes in their science self-efficacy while in the SRMP program was related to their later performance in college science courses.

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:00 a.m.

    Thank you, Jackie. Those are impressive findings.

  • Icon for: Davida Fischman

    Davida Fischman

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 12:40 p.m.

    We too have found mentoring programs very effective. I wonder if you have considered the possibility of asking SRMP alumni (or “veteran” participants) to mentor other students, perhaps in a small way?

  • Small default profile

    Dean Livelybrooks

    Guest
    May 11, 2015 | 01:32 p.m.

    Along the lines of Davida’s question, how are participants employed after their experience to grow interest in STEM (research) at their high schools/etc.? For example, do you recruit a small cohort from specific schools and then facilitate their reporting on their projects to their peers?

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 02:00 p.m.

    Great questions so far and thank you Jackie, for adding in the piece about what we have learned related to impact of the program.

    To Sean: The recruitment strategy is interesting. The goal is to recruit high potential, under-resourced youth. However, under-resourced youth don’t have the resources to find out about the program! It is often the youth (who may be low SES) but are driven and have figured out a way to get into the specialized science schools that find out about us and then seek entrance. To address that issue, we have invested heavily in school visits and talking to teachers and students in areas that are “off the radar”. Also, the program design specifically addresses this issue. Youth who are under-resourced don’t always carry the capital to apply for such intensive programs. They may not identify with the enterprise as something that is “for them”. So the program is set up where youth can take a free exploratory class which is low-stakes, intended to be introductory, fun, and designed to engage and attract youth. If a student takes that class and likes it, they can take free Research-level classes which are a bit more rigorous, are designed to prepare for doing science research and are actually prerequisites for applying to do the year of research. That technique seems to getting us some youth who may not have considered this program at all.

    To Davida and Anonymous: We are just begining to develop alumni engagement strategies! Since only scientists can be mentors, the alumni have not gotten to that stage yet, but we are thinking about ways they can be “big brothers and sisters” to the current cohorts. We do have events where alumni and current students meet and network, we want to be more strategic about it. We also know that some alumni stay in contact with their mentors and ask to come back and work in those labs in subsequent summers. We also know that some alumni are starting clubs and other informal ways of creating community on their college campuses.

  • Icon for: Arthur Lopez

    Arthur Lopez

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 12:00 a.m.

    If I understand your commentary correctly, your project seeks to find students who may be motivated or “highly” motivated that are under-resourced (by this I take it you mean students that are on free or reduced lunch programs, for example) to get into specialized science schools. Have you collected data that provides evidence that your program design does attract many under-resourced youth from the low stakes introductory course into the more rigorous course? The reason I ask is because the Computer Science program that I am involved with is also funded by the NSF and we are seeking to broaden participation with underrepresented groups, including young women and ethnically diverse students; I would be very interested and appreciate the data you have collected in regards to this aspect and your thoughts about it; I think this is a great program for exposing under-resourced students that traditionally do not have these type of opportunities available to them. Thank you.

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 09:26 a.m.

    Hi Arthur,

    Right, so, actually, it has been challenging in actually gathering evidence if we are getting the target audience but here is how we are documenting it. When we recruit, we go into the specific schools that have target demographics and a high percentage of students on free lunch. We then promise 3-4 spots for students from that school into the exploratory level (the intro) courses. These courses are not the pre-requisites but the ones that are meant to engage and get them through the door. We offer elective credit or community credit if that helps. We do 3-4 spots because we want kids to travel as a group, coming to a place that they are unfamiliar with. Once those youth enroll, we keep an eye on them, calling them if they miss class or something – ensuring them that somebody cares if they don’t show up.

    Then, overall, we don’t want to ask for financial documents to ensure they are low-income because then we think youth would not even bother. We do ask them to tell us their home address, their ethnicity and optionally ask for household income bracket. We then take all of that data and extrapolate what the status is for the pool of students, as opposed to a single one. In NYC, underserved is many things. We have a very high population of recent immigrants especially from places like Bangledesh. According to some, they are not target audience or minority in sciences, but actually these type of youth are. Without supports, they don’t enter and complete college especially in the sciences. They have a lot of family support in the sense that the families want them to succeed and become doctors and engineers (the american dream), but don’t know how to navigate the systems. We see our role to be that support system and then convert them into loving conservation science, paleontology and earth science (all of the things those parents are not even realizing are valid and successful fields of study). I am going to look up your video and look forward to learning more about your program!

  • Icon for: Arthur Lopez

    Arthur Lopez

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 11:17 a.m.

    Preeti, thank you for your very thoughtful and clearly written reply. I really appreciate it! In regards to a video, I do not know if the College Board or NSF has posted posted a video on the pilot AP CSP course. But here is the link to the Web site for this course: http://goo.gl/fuPY7c and a news press release from the NSF in regards to this course: http://goo.gl/0Q3VHI.
    Again, wonderful project you are conducting and hopefully it will expand!

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:04 a.m.

    Preeti, thank you for the details on the selection process. I’m struck (and impressed) by the scaffolding you’ve built into the process for these youth. Are you encountering any challenges/obstacles as the program scales up?

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 09:32 a.m.

    Hi Sean,

    Yes, we are encountering challenges. We can only serve 200 individuals in the courses and then out of those, only 60 can get accepted into the mentoring part of the program. This is a limitation of space and the number of scientists who can mentor. In 2012, the Pinkerton Foundation in NYC wants us to expand. We said something that nobody every says to a fundor…we said no. They were shocked and after understanding the reasons, funded the NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium. Three years later, there are 14 other sites in NYC will programs that are following the model of the AMNH program. It is not a replication. It is a scale-up based on the guiding principles of the AMNH program. So each program has a different name, and runs a bit differently, but has the same core activities happening so that the program goals are the same. We lead the consortium and that means that we serve as a bit of a glue keeping all of the sites working together and connecting and sharing opportunities, resources and challenges. We also develop some experiences and products that all of us 15 sites can benefit from. This has allowed us as a whole to serve 300 youth annually as opposed to 60.Here is the website for the consortium. The website still needs a lot of work, but it is getting there. http://www.studentresearchnyc.org/

  • Icon for: Sean Smith

    Sean Smith

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 08:09 p.m.

    Wow, Preeti. What an impressive story. It reminds of some of the recent thinking about implementation fidelity—the importance of finding the core principles and trying to make sure those guide every adaptation, as opposed to an emphasis on replicating. Thank you.

    And one more thing…how nervous were you when you said “no” to Pinkerton?

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 12:40 p.m.

    Funny question. I actually wasn’t here when that happened so I don’t know. But the Pinkerton foundation goes around telling others that we did so it all worked out I guess. But, yes, it is a risky standpoint.

  • Icon for: Janet Kolodner

    Janet Kolodner

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 03:03 p.m.

    This is a really lovely video, and I am impressed, as well, by the support you provide and the scaling up you are doing. Keep up the scaling up, and I think you can have additional impact if you do some good writing up of what it takes to do all this so that others can put together consortia in their cities. Perhaps you and your team can be mentors for those putting together programs in other cities.

    As for questions, I wonder what support the students have in moving forward towards college and beyond. Do the mentor scientists help them think about this? Do you get the kids together regularly and talk about such things?

    Actually, I’m jumping the gun in that question, as I wonder overall whether and how the 60 kids in a program interact with each other systematically. The research on identity development (and that’s what you are ultimately helping them with) discusses the need to reflect on one’s experience as part of identity work. I’ve also found that getting pats on the back from peers and those one values is important to sustaining participation. You said you call them if they miss classes, but I wonder about the rest of it and if/how you are helping them acclimate to their new selves in ways that will stick.

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 12:38 p.m.

    Janet, thank you for these questions! Two activities we built early in early on to address the community of practice is a mandatory summer institute that brings all 60 student science researchers together and doing particular science experiences that strengthen their skills as researchers. That time is so great for them to create community. We also do some college prep stuff then, journal club and other activities that get kids talking to each other. Then once the students are broken into teams of 2-3 people and sent off to work with scientists, they meet once a month on Fridays for Advisory. These two-hour meetings bring everyone together and the curriculum is designed for them to come together and share what is happening in their research experiences, but also learn how to write science papers and create scientific posters (a requirement of the program). We have found these advisories are critical for community building.

    Then, the manager of the program meets with each scientist periodically throughout the year to discuss how the students are doing and discuss any challenges.

    You hit the nail on the spot when you bring up identity work. That is theoretical lens that guides our work in that – how does doing scientific research alongside a scientist in a safe, scaffolded mentoring way mediate identity development as a person who can do science and be a scientist? In essence, we are interesting in whether these students gain a realistic understanding of what it means to do science research as opposed to the glamourized view – and do they gain particular skills towards doing research and do they think they can do research.

    That said – I think we do need to do a better job of getting these students to “see what is happening” for themselves. That meta-cognition happens by chance, not in a way that we program in. That would help us and them in many ways both for the moment and for their near future.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

Icon for: Preeti Gupta

PREETI GUPTA

American Museum of Natural History

Science Research Mentoring Program
NSF Award #: DRL-0833537

The Science Research Mentoring Program is designed to support high potential low-resourced youth to work with Museum scientists conducting authentic science research over the course of the year. The unique intellectual merit of this program is that the youth must go through preparatory coursework that is co-taught by educators and scientists that gives them the skills, deeper content and familiarity necessary to join the lab ready to contribute. The alumni of the program appear to have better science and math grades, are more likely to do science research at the college level and are choosing STEM careers. Alumni of the program gain a more authentic understanding of the life and work of scientists and of scientific research. Originally funded by ITEST, it is now in 14 other sites in NYC reaching 300 youth annually.