Would you like to know how to overcome these problems using an established process that has successfully opened doors for hundreds of high school students to summer research positions in university research labs? If so, read on!
I am a authentic science research in the high schools teacher/coach trained by Dr. Robert Pavlica, the founder of the Authentic Science Research in the High Schools Program (ASR) that has produced hundreds of national and international science and engineering competition winners.
The problem with the straight-forward implementation of an ASR program is that a significant number of students drop out of the program when they fail to find a science and or engineering mentor.
Given my expertise in biomedical research and bionanotechnology, I have modified the ASR process to focus students interested in my area of expertise. I add value to the program by teaching some of the professional skills specific to biomedical research that students need to succeed.
More specifically, my modification provides training in the research skills described in more detail below.
A THREE STEP PROCESS FOR MASTERING CONTENT AND PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH
- The process toward success starts with a student's authentic passion for solving a science and/or engineering problem. Deep passion together with a can-do attitude are necessary, but without the right connections may be insufficient. I mine the student's passion and challenge the student to go deeper.
- After the student learns the terminology, the concepts, research directions of a field and focuses on a specific research problem, I guide the student through the process of accessing professional scientific literature.
- I then teach a set of competencies related to fundamental online bioinformatics tools. These include:
- How to use optimize relevancy when searching National Library of Medicine's PubMed database of biomedical research articles
- How to use to query protein and DNA databases relevant to a specific biological pathway.
- How to use visualize and interpret 3D molecular structures relevant to biomedical research.
- How to use search engines to find out more about metabolic and disease pathways that involve multiple molecules.
A FOUR STEP PROCESS FOR MASTERING SCIENCE RESEARCH JOB NETWORKING SKILLS THAT OPEN DOORS
- The process starts with crafting 3 minute, 1 minute and finally 30 sec. pitches that challenge the student to learn and master biomedical science vocabulary and research concepts. These pitches are practiced weekly.
- Once a student demonstrates mastery of his/her pitch, the next challenge is to conduct a networking email campaign to mine "golden" nuggets of advice from the biomedical research professional networks around the world.
- These nuggets are synthesized by the student into a "doable" summer project proposal.
- The student then uses their email network to get into a local scientist's laboratory to conduct their own (ideally) or one of the scientist-mentor's summer projects.
- Self-confidence is developed as student's practice pitching with other students.
- Deep scientific content knowledge and understanding is developed as student's pursue their passions and learn more about their chosen field of study.
- Job networking skills are developed by applying them in a real life search for a mentor.
- Laboratory research experience potentially resulting in a professional reference from a scientist for college, graduate school or further career networking.
- If a competition is entered, recognition, financial rewards and scholarships from national and international competitions.
- The sense of accomplishment and self-worth that comes from going well beyond normal schooling to master a research subject.
I'm creating a two tiered system