|CORD programs directly impact 65,000 students and 3,000 teachers each year through the following programs:
One of primary foundation is CORD’s NIH-funded Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA), which are now in their 20th year (1 R25 GM132967-01; 2019-2024). This new funding is entirely for grade 4-6 STEM teacher training in both summer and school year programs. This extends CORD’s SEPA programs into elementary grades, provides a much needed model for in-service teacher training in STEM and fosters better vertical alignment between elementary grade science and secondary science. CORD’s previous SEPA projects focused on providing minority secondary science teachers and students with strong STEM programs to excite students about research careers and enable them to pursue an undergraduate STEM major.
GENEius at the McWane Science Center, is a state of the art lab to which high school classes (including their teachers; ~3,000/y) come for a full day research experience. The current modules include an HIV/AIDS experiment in which each group explore the lifecycle of HIV using Western blotting and interactive experiences involving public health issues relating to AIDS, including web searches and a mock fluid exchange. Other experiences include using PCR in a DNA experiment, protein and DNA deficits, e.g., Sickle-Cell disease (see).
The Summer Science Institute (SSI) includes SSI I (Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Biology) for rising 10th graders (a 2-week program (five-days a week; 80 h), a hands-on laboratory in molecular biology, featuring week-long experiments, e.g., DNA transformation, Sea Turtle genetics, and protein crystallization (Figure 1). SSI II (Advanced Principles of Biology and Neurobiology) for rising juniors, consists of a 2-week, 5-day/w, hands-on laboratory in biochemistry and neurobiology. It features research projects on biochemistry and purification of proteins, genetics, enzyme kinetics, and immunology. All CORD programs include about 70% minority students and are taught by UAB faculty researchers and CORD staff and facilitated by area high school teachers. SSI students present the findings their group research experiments at the end of the course to fellow students, faculty and parents.
SSI III (Summer Research Internship Program) is for rising grade 12 students, who initially refresh their knowledge of biomedical laboratory techniques during an intensive week-long orientation, followed by a Research Internship, which is an intensive 8-week, 320-hour experience, in which Interns independently develop a hypothesis related to the mentor’s research and then design and execute a test of that hypothesis. Each Intern is mentored by a UAB-funded faculty researcher and participates in educational workshops and scientific seminars. Students also present professional quality poster presentations of their original laboratory research results at the Closing Ceremony Competition. About 25% of the Interns are authors of papers in biomedical journals that are based on their findings, and about 50% are present at international/national meetings via poster or platform presentations. In its 20 years, SSI I and II have hosted over 1,800 students and SSI III has hosted over 450 high school interns (~70% minority students in all SSI programs).
CORD’s SSI III internship program extended to community college students through the Bridges to Baccalaureate grant (2013-2022: “Bridges to Biomedical Careers (BBC),” which focuses on transitioning HBCU community college STEM students into biomedical researchers. In its initial 5 years, BBC has successfully bridged all of its 61 community college students primarily (80%) to UAB biomedical majors. All students in the program are either on-track or have completed their BS in 80% of all BioTeach graduates remain teachers for 10+ years.
CESAME (NSF DUE 1136327; Robert Noyce funding; $1,400,000; “Creating Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education;” 2012-2023) has focused on creating a cadre of highly trained K-12 STEM teachers by bringing together outstanding students, UAB faculty and master teachers to develop outstanding K-12 STEM educators.
The Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI; Wyss, PI) is a statewide program that supports all of Alabama’s K-12 STEM education, providing intensive teacher training in inquiry-based science and hands-on kits that form the backbone of K-12 STEM education for Alabama. AMSSTI-UAB the largest AMSTI site and serves the greatest number of minority students. Our area AMSTI teachers have expressed a need for better content knowledge in cancer biology and improved training and support via new hands-on experiences using cutting-edge cancer discoveries related to the NGSS. AMSTI-UAB impacts 65,000 K-12 students per year.