Impacting the Next Generation of Scientists

P1010008_LRGIt’s a fact: the sooner you introduce kids to science, the more likely they’ll grow up to be scientists.

In 1991, the Boston University School of Medicine pioneered a science education outreach program so unique that it’s been replicated across the country. CityLab is a learning lab for approximately 6,000 students per year in grades 7–12, and their teachers. Its mission is to provide access to state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory facilities and curriculum unavailable to most school systems.

08_1411_107What makes the curriculum work like no other is its entertainment factor. Topics are presented not as science lectures, but as riveting mysteries to be solved. Students sleuthing In Search of the Body’s -Antibodies can’t help but find the complicated immune system compelling. In solving The Case of the Crown Jewels, they are suddenly tantalized by the mystery of DNA. The program has proved especially successful with student populations who have not traditionally gravitated to the sciences: 24 percent of CityLab students are minorities; 54 percent are female.

The impact of the program is extended with teacher workshops and summer programs.