Training Rural/Underserved Youth to Understand and pursue scientific careers
Students living in rural and frontier areas are oftentimes at a disadvantage in that they do not always have easy access to hands-on educational programs that might stimulate their interest in the sciences. The inquiry-based science education program that is being developed will train students in the scientific process based on real- world air pollution issues giving them the tools necessary to conduct hands-on research. The new Clean Air and Healthy Homes Program (CAHHP) is based on our successful “Air Toxics Under the Big Sky” program one of four sub- projects in our original SEPA. Through three Aims we will test the overall hypothesis that CAHHP can be used in rural underserved areas to effectively educate students in the scientific process raise their interest in science and science careers and increase their awareness of environmental impacts on human health. We will test this hypothesis with the following Aims: 1) Develop an inquiry-based student directed learner centered program (CAHHP) that will allow students to test relevant real-world questions in science; 2) Implement CAAHP into rural underserved areas of Montana Idaho and Alaska in collaboration with our regional partners; and 3) Establish a professional development program for teachers interested in environmental health sciences. Through Aims 1 and 2 we anticipate that students participating in CAHHP will have increased interests in science as well as an increased interest in science as a career. Through Aim 3 we will provide professional development training to teachers enhancing the science education that students receive within the classroom. Our over-arching goal is to provide educational opportunities to nearly 4300 students from 51 schools located within rural and underserved areas of the northern Rocky Mountains and within remote Alaska Native Villages.