Help science-minded students prepare for college and STEM careers

NIH resource will help teachers get high school students ready for the biomedical workforce.

JUMP-START College Planning, a free how-to manual for organizing a conference for science-minded high school students, has been released by the Office of Science Education (OSE) at the National Institutes of Health.

The free college-planning manual is based on a highly successful OSE program in collaboration with leaders in science education in the Washington, D.C., area. The program helps students learn how to apply to college; sign up for the right college courses and choose from the many career possibilities in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

The STEM gap is of great concern for women and minorities. Blacks and Latinos represent about 28 percent of the U.S. population yet account for only 7 percent of America’s STEM workforce, according to NIH. 

"Underserved students from minority groups often don‘t have access to the resources they need to navigate the course to a college education, let alone a STEM career. We can help those kids by paying attention to their unique needs, and this manual is one way to do that," said Bruce Fuchs, PhD, director of OSE. 

SciLife recognizes that STEM careers require essential skills today's students have gained from both their liberal arts studies and technical preparation during college, such as critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving and the ability to flexibly address multidisciplinary challenges. This kind of college-planning conference gives pre-college students exposure to the interdisciplinary nature of STEM careers and access to the resources they need to navigate pathways to college. The manual includes information on how to get started, build partnerships, plan a program, get the word out, set up and evaluate the event.

"This how-to guide is a great resource for us as we plan our own SciLife programs on Oct. 21, 2013, and Feb. 24, 2014," said Toby Horn, PhD, co-director of CASE-Carnegie Academy for Science Education at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C.

For more information on JUMP-START College Planning or to order a free manual, visit the National Institute of Health Office of Science Education website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit the website.