New STEM Summer Program for Minority Students

COLORADO SPRINGS — A new summer outreach program is underway at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to help attract more children from underrepresented backgrounds into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

The UCCS STEM outreach program launched this summer with 18 high school students participating in the free program. Students will experience college-level laboratories in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and human anatomy.

“I think this program will help me figure out what I want to do and what career path to follow,” said Eden Alexander of UCCS’ STEM Outreach Program.

“I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see and explore what I wanted to do, and I think it is,” said Maleijha McCall, of UCCS’ STEM outreach program.

Both girls dream of going into the medical field, but they haven’t had the chance to gain practical experience.

“My school is super small, there’s nothing like it,” Alexander said.

“Most of the time in these underserved communities, students don’t get the chance to participate in these high-level labs in biology, chemistry and anatomy and they kind of miss the impact it could have on their future. We can spot any of these talented and wonderful kids and encourage them to pursue pursuits like medicine or science,” said Madison Fox, creator of UCCS’s STEM outreach program.

That’s why Fox created the program, to help break down barriers for these students, especially minorities. She hopes the program can inspire a potential career in medicine or scientific research.

“We do a lot of chemistry and biology. They were able to have the opportunity to understand uptake and how things evolve on the chemistry side. Going into biology, they will be able to experiment with bacteria, different genomes, and d ‘other types of microorganisms,” Fox said. “They’re going to learn quite a bit. Not only if they like or dislike science, but how they can apply these techniques to the future careers they want to have.

Later this week, they will also study a human cadaver to help them better understand the interworkings of the body. Good experience for these future doctors.

“The anatomy lab, I’m so excited, I can’t wait,” McCall said.

“It’s really really cool, I find it interesting,” Alexander said.

“I’m so grateful to be able to start a program like this and bring it to so many amazing, bright kids across Colorado. I’m honored to have the entire University of Colorado Colorado Springs helping organize the event as well as the Gateway program. Seminary and pre-college. They have done an amazing job of supporting and helping me through this process,” Fox said.

The university plans to expand the curriculum to include engineering, technology, and math.

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