K-12 Education and Outreach

TeenSHARP high school student research experience (HighRise)

One or our main partners in the K-12 space is TeenSHARP (Successful, High-Achieving, and Reaching Potential), which gives low-income, Black and Latinx youth access to leadership opportunities, trains them to be ambassadors of higher education in their communities, and prepares them for success at selective colleges and universities.

Enhanced preparation of high school URG students for the undergraduate experience, increased confidence in the pursuit of undergraduate education, increased familiarity with undergraduate institutions and the ‘unwritten rules’, and increased numbers of URGs who effectively pursue undergraduate STEM education.

Through the HighRise program, TeenSHARP students will be placed in lab groups that match their interests for an 8-week research experience. The program is rounded out with workshops, symposia and graduate student mentorship to give our TeenSHARP participants a real snapshot of life on campus.

Our 6-year longitudinal program with TeenSHARP will not only provide a sustained and diverse research experience for minority high school students, but also will inform MRSEC educators about pre-college preparatory skills. 

Teen-SHARP participants

DE Elementary Science Olympiad

Our work with elementary school classrooms in the State of Delaware is motivated by the low STEM AP pass rates among Black and Latinx students. We understand the importance of reaching students at an early age to spark their interest and skills in science and technology, and to level the playing field for schools with high percentages of URG students from low-income families.

To do this, we’ve teamed up with the Delaware Elementary Science Olympiad to provide physics, chemistry and biology test kits for several classrooms in rural and intercity schools that are otherwise unable to participate due to the cost. In addition to the kits, we’re connecting teachers with several MRSEC-funded graduate students trained in elementary outreach to provide mentorship to the students using the kits. A pilot of this program has already received promising feedback.

Prof. A. Kloxin demonstrating aspects of biomimicry to elementary school students at the DE Museum of Natural History.

Prof. A. Kloxin stands next to the interactive display demonstrating aspects of biomimicry at the DE Museum of Natural History.