On July 16, 2016, UW Bioengineering Outreach hosted 21 rising 12th grade students participating in the STEMPREP Program. Established in 1990, STEMPREP is a highly competitive, selective national program run by the Distance Learning Center (DLC). DLC is a nonprofit organization that aims to increase diversity in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) higher education programs and careers, and connect minority trainees with mentors, leaders and opportunities across the educational pipeline. STEMPREP was founded by Dr. Moses Williams, Executive Director of the nonprofit Distance Learning Center, when he was director of admissions for Temple University School of Medicine.
In this half-day event led by full-time lecturer Dr. Dianne Hendricks, participants learned about UW BioE research through presentations by capstone students, hands-on activities designed to demonstrate research by the Woodrow lab and Bioengineers without Borders, and other activities including ultrasound, strawberry DNA extraction, suturing in simulated surgery and a demonstration of prosthetics. The event concluded with a Q & A panel with BioE undergraduate students. Several BioE student and staff volunteers helped Dr. Hendricks run the event, including Abbi Helfer, Lael Wentland, Mikael Perla, Sarah Albrecht, Philip Walczak, Yoshi Goto, Jeffery Ni, Robyn Langevin, James Bao, Tiffany Ohlsen, Michael Butler, Chris Saxby, Ty Youngblood, Eric Swanson, Arielle Steger and Kalei Combs.
BioE is the first UW department to host STEMPREP students for such an event. The department is planning future collaborations with the program to expose participating students to bioengineering research and the University of Washington.
The STEMPREP students are at UW all summer to perform research in the College of Engineering and School of Medicine. BioE faculty members Wendy Thomas, Mike Regnier, Marta Scatena, Charles Murry, and Deok-Ho Kim are each hosting one STEMPREP student in their labs.
STEMPREP recruits and engages underrepresented minority students, most of whom come from middle-class or low-income families, via a unique 10-year longitudinal training approach. Starting as early as seventh grade and continuing through college, students participate in STEMM education and training opportunities at universities around the country, and receive relevant mentorship, counseling and advising. STEMPREP is one of the most successful STEMM outreach and training initiatives in US history: 100% of participants attend and graduate from college, 92% complete the 10-year program and 83% pursue post-baccalaureate education in STEMM. Learn more about the Distance Learning Center and STEMPREP (opens in new window).