Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Aimee Moraitis, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
The Learning At the Bench (LAB) initiative aims to provide an environment in which students can develop deductive reasoning skills and gain increased exposure to diverse STEM role models. In order to accomplish this, the LAB Initiative fosters a space where active or hands-on learning is implemented by students and teachers. The programs under the LAB Initiative also act as a feedback loop to participating scientists as a method of training in science communication and teaching skills. These programs include the LAB Experience Classes, LAB After School Program (ASP), Summer Science Research Program (SSRP), and LAB Programs for Science Educators. All LAB Programs are segmented as introductions to STEM in order to ensure all ranges of knowledge and interests are covered. LAB Experiences have served 2156 students with 60% coming from underserved communities. In Spring 2016, 50% of the 14 students that participated in LAB ASP were also from underserved communities. LAB ASP acts as a pipeline to the SSRP, which typically has 72% of students that are not from a disadvantaged background. Although the LAB Initiative has a large audience of students, it also looks to increase its educator and professional audience. These individuals are seen to be the first point of contact as role models for the STEM field. LAB Programs for Educators target science educators from underserved communities – LAB Programs for Educators have reached 200 educators in which 40% teach at schools in underserved communities. This STEM ecosystem has demonstrated its capacity to increase diversity and include communities that would otherwise be unable to gain access to advanced scientific resources.