University of South Carolina

Middle-school students performing DNA research in SCienceLab
Middle-school students performing DNA research in SCienceLab

Continued: SCienceLab

“The program has become so popular among teachers that we were totally booked within 48 hours after announcing the labs that we had last fall,” Ely said. “This new grant will help us get other universities involved.”

Plans call for expansion to Claflin University and a college or university along the coast to make it easier for students to have a SCienceLab experience. More than 2,000 students from throughout the Palmetto State have participated in the program since its inception.

SCienceLab classes are taught by top university professors, including cell biologist Dr. Richard Showman and cancer scientist Dr. David Reisman, both from the department of biological sciences, and associate professor of chemistry Dr. Ken Shimizu, who received the 2008 Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award.

“The labs give students the opportunity to learn what it’s like to be a scientist and to conduct research on something that is relevant to them,” said Ely, recently named director of the university’s Center for Science Education. “They talk to the undergraduate and graduate students that work in our labs, and many of them leave here believing that they can be scientists, too.”

Senior biology major Leticia Patterson, an undergraduate researcher in Ely’s lab, talked recently to SCienceLab students about their plans for college and their majors.

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  • What: NIH-funded outreach program to middle and high schools that allows pre-college students to perform scientific research
  • Who: Bert Ely created and directs the program

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