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    August 2009

    Economic Transformation

    NCSSM Reaches out to Underrepresented Students through Labs for Learning

    Image-NCSSM Labs for Learning.JPG

    In today’s world, advances in science and mathematics constantly threaten to eclipse our educational system’s ability to keep pace in the classroom. Often it is African-American, American Indian, and Hispanic students—ethnic groups that already are severely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields—that are most at risk of being left even further behind. In North Carolina, this problem is particularly acute in the state’s northeastern region.

    A four-year preparatory program for rising 7th through 10th graders, Labs for Learning is designed to reach young students from severely underrepresented ethnic groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In Summer 2008, twenty-four 7th grade students from the six districts—Bertie County, Halifax County, Hertford County, Northampton County, Warren County, and Weldon City—that form the Roanoke River Valley Educational Consortium participated in a week-long residential program at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM).

    The enriched curriculum included high interest science, math, and language arts experiences, as well as career counseling and field trips to area university research and corporate labs and museums. This cohort of students also came together several times through the academic year—both in person at a central location in the region as well as by videoconference—for technology training, guest lectures, and additional hands-on learning activities directed by NCSSM instructors. In Summer 2009, the initial cohort will come back to NCSSM for two weeks in its second year of related STEM activities and instruction. And they will be joined by a new cohort of twenty-four rising 7th graders for its one-week launch into the program. 

     Goals for the Labs for Learning initiative are:

    • To equip students with skill sets required for success in math and science study as well as scientific problem-solving and research.
    • To inspire interest in science and mathematics and a career trajectory in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
    • To support students and their families from the start of middle school into high school with guidance and a plan of study that will provide a basis for success in college and in STEM careers.

    When fully functioning in Summer 2011, the Labs for Learning initiative will involve 96 students from severely underrepresented ethnic groups actively preparing in four grade level cohorts to pursue high level STEM academic and career opportunities, whether at NCSSM or within the broader UNC system.


    For further information, please contact: 

    Tom Clayton, Director of Academic Programs

    North Carolina School of Science and Math 


    telephone: (919) 416-2888