The investigators believe that research is a mentoring process, and that to encourage students to pursue research careers, they need hands on research with a mentor. The investigators operate two summer research programs at the University of Pennsylvania, the Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science (TREES) Program, a high school research program and the Short Term Educational Experiences for Research (STEER) Program, an undergraduate research internship. TREES and STEER are educational activities of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) through its Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC). The programs offer mentored summer research experiences to high school and college students and are run in parallel each summer with many integrated activities. Through TREES and STEER, the investigators are building a pipeline of young scholars to address environmental health problems. Penn is well positioned to achieve these goals based on its existing training infrastructure, its strong environmental health research base and the commitment of its faculty to train tomorrow's scientists. Additionally, because the TREES program is taught by graduate students, it provides them with valuable classroom experience. Through 2012, 47 high school students participated in the TREES program and 41 undergraduates participated in the STEER program. Both programs are funded through R25-ES016146, but the investigators propose to continue them under PAR-11-050 as recommended by the NIEHS as well as expand the program by working with local high school teachers to expand their science curriculum.
Two summer research educational programs will be supported by this application: The Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science (TREES), a research program for high school students and the Short Term Educational Experiences for Research or STEER, a college internship program. Through a mentored research experience, the investigators'goals are to motivate students towards careers in environmental science and health.