The proposed program is a collaboration between two institutions that collectively represent a range of exciting stem cell research opportunities. The proposed program augments an established summer research program that has been providing biomedical research experiences to high school and college students for 30 years. The objectives of the program are to: 1) Recruit 4 high school students, including those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds 2) Match the students with mentors to undertake a stem cell biology project over an eight-week period, culminating in presentation of their work in a research symposium 3) Stimulate students’ interests and enhance exposure to stem cell issues 4) Engage the students in a secondary enriching discipline 5) Provide students with academic and psychosocial support The proposed program will inform and increase the awareness of high school students in stem cell research during a formative time of their lives. It is anticipated that a positive and nurturing summer experience will help stimulate their interest to pursue a career in stem cell research. Across California, the CIRM Creativity program will contribute toward producing a generation of stem cell researchers who can approach problems in new ways, which will be necessary for new breakthroughs and to keep California competitive internationally in the stem cell field.
Statement of Benefit to California:
The proposed program will provide high school students with an excellent opportunity to be exposed to stem cell research. It will inform and increase the awareness of high school students in stem cell research during a formative time of their lives. It is anticipated that a positive and nurturing summer experience will help stimulate their interest to pursue a career that involves stem cell research. The CIRM Creativity program will contribute towards producing a generation of stem cell researchers who can approach problems in new ways, which will be necessary for new breakthroughs and to keep California competitive internationally in the stem cell field.
Reviewers agreed that this is a well-written proposal with appropriate scope and activities for training high school interns and exposing participants to careers in stem cell research. Major strengths of the program included the institution's well-established history of summer high school internship programs, the comprehensive assessment and tracking of past participants, the large number of investigators available to serve as mentors, and the active outreach activities. Reviewers also appreciated the breadth and high quality of the program activities. Although some reviewers had reservations about the scope and relevance of activities involved in the second discipline, others were supportive and believed that such activities would not only spark creativity but also reduce stress and build on teamwork. Other issues that raised reviewers’ concerns included a lack of adequate information about the application review process and somewhat vague selection criteria for participants from underrepresented groups. Overall, reviewers were strongly supportive of this proposal and believed that the program offers an enriched stem cell science and research experience for the high school interns.
- A motion was made to recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.