University of South Carolina

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

Continued: SCienceLab

When a middle-school student told Patterson that he wanted to be a football player in the NFL, Patterson looked squarely at him and asked, “What’s your Plan B?”

After talking to him further about the odds of success in the NFL or the risks of being injured and sidelined early in a career, Patterson helped the student understand that a science background could enable him to be part of an NFL team as an athletic trainer or team doctor.

“This lab experience gives students exposure to college and science beyond their schools,” said Patterson, a graduate of Estill High School who hopes to attend medical school. “They think, ‘If she can do it, I can, too.’ I try to be as honest with them as I can. They don’t know about all of the careers that they can have, and this lab is a way for them to talk to real students and professors.”

Ely said the program is a good fit with the university’s research emphasis.

“This gives students a better understanding of scientific research,” he said. “Teachers believe the science content is very valuable for their studies and that coming on campus lets students see what college life is like – even if it is for only a day.

Visit to learn more about SCienceLab at USC.

By Office of Media Relations

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Posted: 11/13/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 11/13/09 @ 1:06 PM | Permalink


  • 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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