CityLab: Biotechnology Learning Laboratory
- It is well documented that schools often lack the resources to present students and their teachers with modern-day hands-on science particularly with human health applications. CityLab a regional biotechnology learning laboratory provides such scientific experiences for middle and high school students and their teachers. Located in an urban medical center CityLab is a partnership of scientists and educators at Boston University with greater Boston high school teachers. CityLab has state-of-the-art equipment four full-time teachers and scientists providing laboratory opportunities for students and teachers on a daily basis. Since its 1992 inception more than 20000 students a third of whom are minorities and half of whom are women have used CityLab. This year both CityLab and the MobileLab have been completely booked since September 12 1999. Seven problem-based laboratory modules are fully operable. The next SEPA phase has two goals in addition to maintenance of the present CityLab program: one is the development of a CityLab Scholars program including the remodeling of the CityLab Academy; and the second is the on-going dissemination and evaluation of our programs. Above all one needs to maintain the extremely successful CityLab program already in place. As part of this endeavor we will address the unique MobileLab an extension of BUSM CityLab created with the help of SEPA funds. Different modes of MobileLab use will be explored. One of the dilemmas we face at CityLab is the lack of continuity that we have with our student visitors. In the beginning we had to make a choice – do we allow several thousand students annually to partake in CityLab or do we allow relatively few students the opportunities CityLab has to offer but in greater depth? We chose the former but we believe both are very valuable approaches. With the introduction of our Scholars Program in this grant we believe we can offer both modalities. We plan to identify a subset of CityLab participants who will qualify as CityLab Scholars. These scholars will participate in a well-structured program pathway maintaining a continuity that will hopefully stimulate them to pursue a bioscience career. Summer Camp research projects assistantships and counseling are all part of the Scholars Program designed to keep the students committed from their sophomore through their senior year CityLab. During the next three years CityLab will continue and expand its biotechnology offerings to its community of students and teachers. 1997-2000 – Schools often lack the laboratory resources necessary to present students and their teachers with modern-day hands-on science particularly science applicable to human health. CityLab a regional biotechnology learning laboratory provides such scientific experiences for middle and high school students and their teachers. Located in an urban medical center CityLab is a partnership between scientists and educators at BUSM and high school teachers throughout greater Boston. CityLab has state-of-the-art equipment two full-time high school teachers and a full-time scientist jointly providing laboratory opportunities to students and teachers on a daily basis. Since its inception over 8500 students one third of whom are minority have used CityLab and over 800 teachers have been certified to lead their classes. Demand for the current year is above capacity. Seven laboratory modules are fully operable and are drawn from major health disciplines such as biochemistry cell and molecular biology immunology and microbiology. The next phase of the project has two broad goals: dissemination and evaluation. Dissemination will see the establishment of other CityLab sites and satellites as well as partnerships with school systems and other institutions reaching additional communities in New England. The CityLab curriculum will be enhanced by the development of four additional curriculum modules. CityLab will expand its teaching methodology by including teleteaching and videoconferencing. A fully operable mobile laboratory will allow CityLab to reach students unable to come to CityLab and to reinforce prior CityLab experiences for some students. Dissemination will also include the continued distribution of the curriculum and the production of a replication manual for those institutions interested in establishing an independent CityLab. A CityLab Biotechnology Camp for high school juniors and seniors will be formalized. Finally to complement ongoing internal evaluative procedures external evaluation techniques will be used to assess the impact CityLab experiences have on students’ decisions to pursue higher education and careers especially in science. 1994-1997 – It is well documented that high schools often lack the laboratory resources and teacher training programs necessary to present their students with modern-day hands-on science particularly science applicable to human health. CityLab a regional biotechnology learning laboratory established via a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) provides such scientific experiences for high school students and their teachers. Located in an urban medical center CityLab has embraced a partnership of scientists and educators at Boston University with high school teachers throughout the greater Boston community and other communities in New England. CityLab has state of the art equipment a full-time high school teacher coordinator and a full-time scientist jointly providing laboratory opportunities to students and teachers on a daily basis. Since its inception over 3000 students one third of whom are minority have used CityLab and over 300 teachers have been certified to lead their classes. Next year (”94-’95) is completely booked with more than 30 schools on a waiting list. Five laboratory modules are fully operable and are drawn from several of the major health disciplines such as biochemistry cell and molecular biology immunology and microbiology. During the next phase of SEPA there are three broad goals: (1) Expansion (2) Dissemination and (3) Evaluation. Expansion will include developing an additional laboratory at BUSM to alleviate the present high demand. This new facility will increase the access of CityLab to between 2200 and 2500 high school students annually. Expansion will also allow us to reach middle school students. CityLab”s present curriculum itself quite flexible will be modified to meet the needs and backgrounds of these younger students. Expansion will also see to establish other CityLab sites or satellites which will allow us to reach additional communities in New England not possible or practical with our present facilities. Current CityLab curriculum will be enhanced by the development of five additional curriculum modules. CityLab will expand its teaching methodology by including multimedia interactions. Dissemination activities will include the continued distribution of the curriculum and the production of a replication manual. The establishment of a network of satellites around New England will also serve to disseminate the CityLab concept. The nationwide dissemination of the CityLab approach to other medical or health related institutions will be a major goal of this SEPA. Finally to complement our ongoing internal evaluative procedures stringent external evaluation techniques will be used to assess the impact CityLab experiences have on students’ decisions to pursue higher education especially in science. The overwhelming acceptance and use of CityLab speaks well for success. Continued support will allow for significant expansion formal dissemination at both the regional and national levels and meaningful evaluation of its impact on students” future pursuits. 1991-1994 – Biotechnology Learning Laboratory (henceforth designated CityLab) will provide educational experiences in biotechnology and related sciences for high school students including disadvantaged students in the Boston area. It is well documented that today's high school students often lack the resources necessary for hands-on science particularly science applicable to the changing modern world. At the same time the growing biomedical industry particularly in Massachusetts needs more qualified laboratory personnel to stay competitive. CityLab will encompass a partnership of scientists educators community industrial and economic development organizations to develop design and implement an innovative high school learning laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. This will serve as a “central facility” for several greater Boston communities. The applicants plan to modify a recently built laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and hire a full-time high school teacher and a full-time laboratory technician to provide laboratory facilities on a daily basis for Boston-area students who will be recruited with their teacher to the lab. The laboratory exercises will be drawn from the disciplines of biochemistry cell and molecular biology immunology and microbiology. By raising the level of student and teacher awareness the applicants hope to stimulate recruitment preparedness and ultimately enrollment of the students into the biomedical science at the college level. A mix of suburban and inner-city schools will be targeted in the program. This will provide disadvantaged students an opportunity to experience a state-of-the-art laboratory. Faculty from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) Boston University School of Education (BUSE) with the assistance from the BUSE consortia as liaisons to the high schools will ensure that the students are introduced to those skills necessary to pursue a future in the biomedical sciences especially basic math and science skills. Dr. Franzblau and his associates are optimistic that CityLab will succeed in these objectives because of (1) the teacher networks already in place at their institutions (2) the commitment of the participants including Boston University School of Medicine its School of Education the local Boston school system and the Biotechnology industry (3) the available resources at Boston University and (4) the critical needs of the community.
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