The main community outreach activity of CNN’s Cross-disciplinary Training in Nanotechnology for Cancer program is in collaboration with Boston University’s CityLab Program, a biotechnology learning laboratory at the Boston University School of Medicine serving students and teachers in grades 7 – 12. CityLab works with XTNC post-docs and graduate students to blend sound scientific content and effective pedagogy in the creation of a curriculum supplement appropriate for high school students and adaptable for the general public.
Last academic year (2015-16), XTNC graduate student and post-doc trainees developed six evening programs for CityLab’s urban high school students. They gave short lectures and led participants through hands-on laboratory experiments designed to illustrate properties of nanoparticles. Twenty-four urban students in CityLab’s Scholars Program participated. Over the course of the year, trainees engaged the students in discussions about general principles and applications of nanotechnology, especially nanomedicine, and shared their experiences as graduate students and postdocs in nanotechnology cancer research, leading to rich discussions between the trainees and high school student participants about science and careers in science.
XTNC graduate students also developed lectures and laboratory activities for Boston University’s Upward Bound Math-Science Program. This federally-funded college preparatory program serves potential first-generation college and low-income public high school students recruited from target schools in Boston. Services include an academically intensive six-week summer residential program. Since 2008, CNN faculty have hosted “Nanocamp Wednesdays” for the Upward Bound summer program. Beginning in 2014, XTNC fellows have also volunteered to develop day-long programs for Nanocamp Wednesdays. These sessions are popular with Upward Bound students and XTNC fellows alike.