This summer, the Center for Public Engagement with Science (CPES) launched a new K-12 initiative called “STEM Experiences in the Lab and Field (SELF)” for high school students in Robeson County, NC. Originally intended to take place in Robeson County during two weeks in June, SELF program staff led by Megan Hoert Hughes, pivoted to a remote learning model which launched on August 1.
Students received a box of geoscience activities in the mail including hands-on simulations to learn about well water and water treatment plants, a tap water sampling kit, a soil corer and hand lens, and a book called “We Rise,” written by Mexica youth and environmental advocate, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.
Students and instructors communicate through an online platform to discuss the materials through photos, videos, and reflections. As part of the program, Robeson County students had the opportunity to virtually meet and interview diverse undergraduate and early career geoscientists to learn about geoscience internship, college, career, and research pathways.
SELF is conducted in partnership with faculty from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Pembroke, and Robeson Early College High School with financial support from Burroughs Wellcome Fund. More information about the program is here: https://ie.unc.edu/self/.
Story by Megan Hughes, STEM Diversity Program Manager and Environmental Health Educator with the Institute’s Center for Public Engagement with Science.