The Knox Scholars Data Science Research Program

  • Project Description

    The LEAH Knox Scholars program (LKS) is a two-year program for Boston-area high schoolers underrepresented (low-income, first-gen college, and/or youth of color) in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It consists of two paid summer data science internships, college access and persistence programming, professional mentorship, and social-emotional learning programming. The program is implemented by Health Resources in Action, the nonprofit public health organization where the LKS project is seated, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

  • Abstract

    The proposed two-year Knox Scholars Data Science Research Program will consist of (1) two paid data science internships, the first summer focused on training and the second summer focused on applied skills; (2) college access and persistence programming; (3) career readiness supported by mentorship; and (4) social-emotional learning programming for a total of 150 Boston-area high school students underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Each summer 30 youth will begin the program with a five-week, paid data science training internship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Youth will learn quantitative methods, data analysis, and coding alongside basic wet lab skills to enhance their experiences working in labs and better prepare them for internships and careers in STEM research. Youth will continue to receive college and career readiness support throughout the school year and youth can opt to participate in paid STEM teaching internships, where they will teach a technology-focused curriculum to elementary school students. The following summer, youth will be placed in applied data science skills internships in academic or corporate to hone their skills. These 150 youth will be part of a larger program called the LEAH Project that will place a total of 500 Boston-area high school youth in paid STEM internships during the 5-year grant period.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    Dissemination strategies will include formal academic publication (i.e., the Journal of STEM Education Research) and presentation of findings, non-academic publication in network and partner blogs or newsletters, and supporting partners in program design and replication of our existing model.

Project Audience

The participants will be Boston area high school students who are underrepresented (Black and Latinx youth, first-generation college students, low-income students) in STEM fields. The program design and evaluation outcomes will be of interest and relevance to the following key audiences: out of school time programs in urban communities that target high school youth who identify as Black, Latinx, low-income, women, or first-generation college students, including other SEPA-funded programs; academic institutions seeking to diversify their student bodies; and corporations seeking to diversify their staff.

Subjects Addressed

The Knox Scholars Data Science Research Program will support high school students to increase: (1) knowledge and skills of data science through programming over two years; (2) career readiness in data science through mentorships for each participant with a data science professional, data science career exploration events, and career readiness workshops; (3) college access and persistence through college visits, college readiness workshops, and individualized college application, financial aid, and scholarship application support; and, (4) youth leadership supported through social emotional learning programming and opportunities.