Discipline: Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Lewis Michele - Winston-Salem State University
Co-Author(s): Nelson Adams, Winston-Salem State University; Naomi M. Hall-Byers, Winston-Salem State University
Black Americans are underrepresented in STEM disciplines. To better support a culture of science and to offer minority students intensive experience with psychological research, we developed an honors program and enriched our curriculum toward the goal of increasing black representation in STEM-related graduate programs. This program included a 2-week summer immersion program in cultural neuroscience which is an interdisciplinary field that investigates relationship between culture (e.g. values, practices and beliefs) and human brain functions. The Cultural Neuroscience Institute (CNI) was designed to cover the interplay of culture, brain, technology, and social issues such as biases, drug use, and health outcomes, and to serve the purpose of academic enrichment for new honors students or as preparation for future applicants to that program. Each of three summers 7-10 students participated in the program staffed by four faculty and a keynote speaker. Students spent approximately 6 hrs daily with faculty including lunch discussions of a thematic book related to CN. A variety of pedagogy was used including discussion-lecture, and afternoon discussion, brief presentations, and writing. Evaluations of students’ experience showed that there was a significant increase of knowledge in CN based on pre- and post-measures from the questions ?Rate your level of knowledge about cultural neuroscience? (p?s < .005) or ratings of skills (p < .01). Students also showed enthusiastic support for the experience: Over 90% of the students across years were very satisfied with the CNI and would recommend it to others. The level of interest in CN engendered by the program increased across years from 33% strongly agreeing in the first year to an average of 82% in the latter two years. In general there was a trend of greater appreciation of the experience which may have reflected modifications by faculty. Ratings of strong agreement with The CNI is well organized changed from 11% to over 57%, and strong agreement with meeting educational needs' rose from 33% to over 85% across years. Qualitative assessments were positive as well and across years faculty used critical feedback to improve the experience. Students in the most recent year are still enrolled, but overall results of professional aspirations show promise. The assessment results suggest that this type of summer enrichment provides meaningful exposure to and an increased appreciation of science.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Supported by the National Science Foundation: Targeted Infusion Grant #1623248
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,
NSF Affiliation: HBCU-UP