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Giving Durham’s Future Scientists a BOOST

May 12, 2009

Think back to the greatest leap you have made in your life. Traveling to a foreign country? Being the first in your family to graduate from college? Making it through the challenging and socially awkward middle school years can seem like a similarly monumental leap. Though the person usually lands on the other side in one piece, the pressures along the way often shatter the passion and curiosity that lead to the successful pursuit of careers in science.

Now in its fifth year, Duke’s BOOST (Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology) Program has been working with over 100 BOOST Scholars from sixth to tenth grade to change that. This multi-dimensional program for elementary and middle school students and teachers is designed to excite its students about science and inspire them to pursue careers in medicine and other biomedical professions. A main goal is to get the students to ask excellent science questions that will frame a solid research project. As the students get older, teamwork, leadership development, and travel experiences are emphasized.

Graduate and professional school students contribute to the program’s success in several ways by mentoring individual students, leading BOOST scholar research teams, serving as content experts for science classes at the program’s partner schools, and guiding groups of BOOST scholars during campus immersion experiences. If this program has captured your interest, apply to be a BOOST Coach or Teaching Associate. Support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, President Brodhead, and Chancellor Dzau, allows the program to offer $1800 stipends to all participating Coaches and Teaching Associates.