This project proposal seeks to build and strengthen an existing program for high school students to perform mentored research during the summer, Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC). Since 2013, BRAINYAC has trained and prepared 108 high school students from low-resourced neighborhoods in New York City for summer research experiences in neuroscience laboratories at Columbia University in the City of New York. We will provide high school students from underprivileged communities and/or who are under-represented minorities the necessary support for a competitive college application and insight into science research as a career choice. We propose to recruit students through partnerships with youth-serving programs and an inclusive application process.
We aim to improve students? scientific knowledge and confidence in key scientific skills through directed training, mentoring and research experience. We will achieve this via the two main parts of the program: (A) A comprehensive training program during the spring that incorporates parental involvement, training sessions focused on science content, critical thinking skills, and communication skills, and orientation sessions to assist students in choosing a mentor and laboratory. These sessions are co-developed and run by a scientist and a science educator. (B) Summer laboratory experiences combined with weekly advisory sessions, a final poster presentation and field trips including a social event and a professional development event at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).
We aim to support our participants? career development and college applications in STEM fields. We will achieve this through comprehensive support structure to work toward our goal of encouraging students to pursue studies and careers in STEM. We will track our success using a mixed-methods evaluation plan and an alumni engagement program including additional opportunities for alumni. In this way, we will reinforce our participants? intent to pursue studies or careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Public Health Relevance

The Brain Research Apprenticeships In New York At Columbia (BRAINYAC) program addresses science education disparities found in low-income neighborhoods by providing an authentic mentored research experience for high school students who are from under-served neighborhoods or under-represented minorities in science. We will support these students through preparatory training during the program and opportunities for alumni of the program. In this way we seek to reinforce students? intent to pursue studies or careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Ullrich, Lauren Elizabeth
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
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New York
United States
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