Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery! — Phase I
American science education still falls short in international comparisons such as Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Health promotion and disease prevention remain national goals for our general population. “Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery!” proposes a collaborative effort among Oklahoma City Community College (OKCCC) the Oklahoma City Public School System (OKCPS) and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) that addresses all five goals of the Science Education Partnership Award program (SEPA). OKCPS is rich with students from underrepresented groups with 85 percent of district students eligible for free or reduced lunches. OKCPS is already engaged in science education reform efforts through a NSF-funded Urban Systemic Program. “Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery!” builds upon the successful OUHSC Health Sciences “Discovery!” model extending it into the high school laboratory. Nationally developed field-tested biotechnology and bioinformatics modules will be chosen to reflect the local biotechnology environment which is biomedical in nature. Teacher teams will undertake professional development to bring their students science learning rich in hands-on activities and inquiry which are consonant with the National Science Education Standards and suit the needs of minority students. A loan center will provide supplies and equipment to support teachers in this expanded science programming. The project touches large numbers of high school students in a variety of courses not just biology to increase health science literacy for all students. Outreach activities to parents will promote health science literacy to the general public. OUHSC and OMRF (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation) will provide capstone experiences with research scientists to expose students directly to the exciting world of biomedical research. The OKCCC biotechnology program will provide science education leadership and technical expertise for adapting biotechnology and bioinformatics modules to the OKCPS high school setting. Programming will include efforts to show parents and students affordable achievable routes to college and science careers of which the OKCCC biotechnician training program is one option. The proximal result will be larger numbers of minority students in science and graduating from high school and the distal result larger numbers of minority students entering college science and science careers.