CityLab received a $1.3 million NIH SEPA grant to develop a new curriculum supplement that uses hands-on laboratory investigations of sports and exercise to highlight important topics in physiology and biochemistry.

Specific Aims

1.    build and implement a new laboratory-based exercise physiology curriculum by recruiting, teaching, retaining, and inspiring pre-college students to engage in sustained STEM experiences that focus on biomedical sciences. The ultimate goals of these activities are to better understand the factors that lead students to successful high school and undergraduate STEM careers and to develop a replicable model for other athletic/academic enrichment programs to test in their own setting.
2.    investigate the role of science learner identity (SLI) in underrepresented minority (URM)/low socioeconomic status (SES) students as a predictor of sustained involvement in STEM activities. We will determine whether short/long exposures to laboratory-based experiences foster changes in SLI that predispose students towards continued STEM education and, eventually, STEM careers. We will conduct a longitudinal study of participants to assess the extent to which seminal STEM experiences affect their SLI and academic choices. We will determine which factors are crucial for sustained student participation in these activities using a well-matched comparison design with historical control data from alumni of the urban squash education programs who did not participate in the biomedical science program.
3.    train undergraduate and graduate students from Boston University to serve as near-peer mentors, learn science content and pedagogy, and teach the pre-college students. Assess the impact of these experiences on the university students and pre-college students.
4.    develop and begin to implement a national dissemination strategy to encourage other U.S. urban squash education programs to adopt this model, particularly in association with nearby SEPA programs. We will also explore expanding this type of program for other sports-centered academic enrichment programs.
5.    reach out to other faculty and programs at Boston University, including the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development (formerly known as Boston University School of Education and a result of Boston University’s merger with nearby Wheelock College) and the Data Science Initiative, as well as other local organizations such as Lasell University and Boston Public Schools.

Partnering Institution

Lasell University