WVU-Community Partnership that Provides Science and Math Enrichment for Underrepresented High School Students
In response to the need to help West Virginia secondary school students overcome educational and economic barriers and to increase the number of health professionals in the state, the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (hereafter, “the Academy”) was established in 1994. The Academy is a partnership between West Virginia University (WVU)–including the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Human Resources and Education–and members of the community, including secondary-school teachers, health care professionals, and other community leaders. The Academy targets students from underrepresented groups (mainly African Americans and financially disadvantaged whites) in grades nine through 12. By November 1997, 290 students (69% girls and 33% African American) from 17 counties were Academy participants. Funding is from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Coca-Cola Foundation, and other sources. Academy programs are an on-campus summer institute and community-based clubs, where students engage in activities for science and math enrichment, leadership development, and health careers awareness. In the Academy’s clubs, students carry out extended investigations of problems related to human health and local communities. Most students report that the Academy has increased their interest in health care careers, and almost all who have continued to participate in Academy programs through their senior year have been accepted into college.