Science Research Mentoring Program
Three cohorts of forty 10th & 11th grade students, many from underrepresented groups attending under-served New York City public schools, participate in a two year program in Comparative Biology and Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History.
This project focuses on new areas and technologies within the rapidly changing Biological Sciences. The mentoring program targets underrepresented youth and will serve 120 10th to 12th grade students over three years (three cohorts of 40 each), providing one year of preparatory courses, a summer institute for career exploration and lab orientation, and a second year of authentic research with an AMNH scientist mentor. It takes advantage of significant new resources at AMNH, including its new graduate school in Comparative Biology, and brings scientific discovery to young people with an immediacy and informality that is rare for students. The project implements and evaluates three major features that make it unique among the small number of programs nationwide providing long-term high school science mentoring experiences: (1) The program will involve AMNH scientist mentors in designing and teaching preparatory courses that are infused with digital learning tools, as well as the technological and computational methodologies that the mentors use in their own research, including DNA sequencing, geometric morphometric analysis, bioinformatics including remote sensing technology, software for phylogenetic analysis, microscopy techniques and CAT scan and cryo-lab technology; (2) The project will develop a mentor training program through which Museum educators coach mentors on research-based informal science education techniques, including inquiry and hands-on experiences; and (3) The project will integrate biological anthropology, a Museum strength, into its preparatory courses and mentoring experience.