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Lab Outreach Summary

by Stephen Snipes last modified Jul 19, 2014 01:48 AM

Lab Outreach Summary

In order to inspire the next-generation of scientists, Professor Reddy and his lab group visited three schools in the Inland Empire to speak about his research. During their outreach campaign, his lab group explained inquiry-based scientific learning techniques used in the laboratory, the process of becoming a scientist and the research being undertaken at the University of California, Riverside.

However, our model of outreach was slightly different. Instead of a one-person lecture, we structured our outreach around a typical UC 4-unit class. In a UC class, the focus of teaching is on three 1-hours lectures, one 1-hour discussion sessions, and one 3-hours labs. In our model, we first had Professor Reddy gave a brief 12-20 minute introduction lecture on plant stem cells and overview of Plant Biology. We wanted to show the students what a typical lecture at the university setting would be. Then, mocking a discussion session, our lab group broke into small groups with approximately 5-6 students each. After the initial exposure to the content, we are able to address any questions in a informal setting and talk to them more individually. Finally we rotated to give different experiences to each person and add our personal flavor to the outreach. We reviewed main concepts Professor Reddy spoke about such as florescence microscopy, a common technique used in our lab. In addition we told them our personal journey into research as well as what initially led us towards science and how we ended up at UCR. We hope this outreach gives students college/research experience to better prepare them for the university and get them into labs quicker.  

During our 3-month trip, we specifically targeted lower income, Latino-dominate communities, because they had less access to research opportunities. In Riverside, two school districts expand over the city, the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) and the Alvord Unified School District. (AUSD). However, the AUSD is further away from UCR, so it often gets overlooked in outreach opportunities. Norte Vista and Hillcrest are two schools from the Alvord Unified School District. Both of these schools are Latino-dominated schools and we tended to focus on college-bound excelling students with an healthy interest in science. Our first trip was on Friday, March 28, 2014 to Norte Vista High School to speak to 4 AP/IB Biology classes and 1 IB HL Biology Class. One month later on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, we visited the Riverside Stem Academy to speak to 2 8th Grade classes. Finally on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at Hillcrest High School we spoke to 3 classes of mixed 9th/10th grade science classes. In total, we spoke to over 400 students.

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