TRY-IT: Translating Research to Youth Through Information Technology
This Science Education (SEPA) project called “TRY-IT” (Translating Research to Youth through Information Technology) is submitted by the University of Kentucky with the Explorium Science Museum and the Kentucky Community and Technology System to increase minority and underrepresented student knowledge and participation in biomedical science careers as well as interest in clinical research trials. The project addresses the limited opportunities for disadvantaged middle school and minority youth to learn about careers in biomedical research and clinical trials because the number of underrepresented minority students who enter biomedical sciences and go on to pursue graduate education is very small. This project focuses on helping students apply technology to better understand biomedical science. This novel approach uses interactive 3-D visualization as a “hook” or an “engagement point” so middle school students can progress to learn more about biomedical science technology and human health. This is a combined Phase I development and a Phase II dissemination application. During Phase I middle school students their teachers school counselors and parents will participate in a two-year year round science-enrichment program to increase the likelihood that participating students will consider careers in biomedical sciences. Project teams will work with the Explorium Science Museum to create traveling exhibits involving interactive 3-D models. During Phase II the curriculum and the exhibits that are developed by the student/teacher/researcher project teams will be disseminated to all middle school students in Kentucky and made available online. The specific project aims are to: (1) Increase the interest and knowledge of minority and underrepresented middle school students ages 11 to 15 in biomedical science clinical trials and scientific uses of technology; (2) Expand the biomedical science technology skills and biomedical science career knowledge of middle schoolteachers and counselors serving minority and underrepresented students; (3) Evaluate changes in student interest knowledge skills and changes in career paths in biomedical science; and (4) Design and distribute the “TRY-IT” curriculum which includes a technology-rich exhibit for K-12 students.