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Rhode Island academy outreach promotes STEM careers

NSF Award:

Infrastructure to Advance Life Sciences in the Ocean State  (University of Rhode Island)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

At the Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Academy, students in grades six to 12 can discover firsthand the promise of higher education and the rewards of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. Through the academy, students visit college campuses, meeting with professors and undergraduates engaged in STEM pursuits.

Nearly all of the academy students come from low-income families, represent a diverse group of cultures and are the first generation in their family to attend college. Their trips begin with a campus tour, which provides academic and financial aid information and includes lunch at campus cafeterias with undergrads. The trip culminates with hands-on research that looks at how road runoff compromises the water quality in the Blackstone River, which empties into Providence Harbor. Students gather around lab tables for experiments, learning why water quality matters and how measurements vary along the river.

This collaborative program involves people from several programs across different campuses who work together seamlessly to provide a critical experience for these young students. As intended, the day provokes both conversation and quest, where minds open to thoughts about modern society's impact on the marine ecosystem, dreams of college and new ideas about careers in science and technology.


  • high school students from rhode island run water quality experiments
High school students from Providence, R.I., run water quality experiments.
Amy Dunkle, Rhode Island EPSCoR

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