Children from diverse backgrounds may have little or no exposure to either science or scientists. They sometimes don’t think science is something they can do.
“If you have never heard of an engineer, you don’t know you can be one,” says Andrew Shouse, associate director of the UW’s Institute for Science + Math Education.
To better expose students from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to the joys and relevancies of science learning and open them to the possibilities of scientific careers, the Institute has partnered with a number of schools, research institutions, and organizations in the Seattle area to create after-school programs for middle-school students representing populations historically underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.
One of those programs, Project COOL (Chemical Oceanography Outside the Lab), apprentices middle-schoolers from South Seattle, mostly girls, in the hands-on work of chemical oceanography. The program — a collaboration of the Institute and the UW’s School of Oceanography — brings UW ocean and learning scientists and graduate/undergraduate mentors together with young apprentices to investigate the chemistry of Puget Sound and the impact that human decisions have on its water systems.
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